Scotland has seen a steady rise in research and development (R&D) tax credit claims, new figures have revealed.
Official figures for the latest period show that Scottish firms made a total of 2,210 claims, up from 1,900 in the previous year.
There were 2,015 successful claims made by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) north of the Border and a further 195 secured by larger companies, amounting to some £175 million in R&D tax relief secured by businesses across the country.
Overall, Scotland-based companies secured 4 per cent of the value of 48,635 R&D tax credit claims made across the UK in the latest period. A total of £4.3 billion of tax relief support was claimed corresponding to £31.3bn of R&D expenditure by British businesses.
The HMRC figures are based on partial data for the year with the total number set to increase further as more returns are received.
Scottish firms also secured £41m in rebates for Patent Box claims, another tax relief incentive available to help companies develop intellectual property (IP) assets. This accounts for 5 per cent of all UK Patent Box claims.
Scott Henderson, chief executive of ABGI UK, said: “Businesses in Scotland continue to perform well in generating successful R&D tax relief claims with a significant rise compared to last year’s figures.
“The R&D tax credit scheme has a proven track record in delivering success, driving forward innovation and helping develop more world-class companies across the UK.
“Going forward we will continue to work with Scottish businesses to insure they are securing maximum benefit when they invest in research and development.”
Since the launch of R&D tax credit schemes in 2000, some £26.9bn has been claimed.
Mark Smith, partner, Innovation Incentives, Ayming, said: "These statistics reveal some positive steps, but there's still lots of progress to be made. The government has made clear its mission to make the UK an innovation hub but, as it stands, the UK is currently way off its R&D spending targets.
"R&D tax credits have a vital role to play in boosting innovation funding and, if businesses aren't using them enough, that's a problem. To hit our R&D spending targets, we need to ensure businesses are fully equipped to make full use of incentives which will allow companies to pump more money into innovation. The incentives will need to be even more accessible if the UK is to hit its targets."