UKWA highlights R&D tax credits as funding opportunity for ‘digital journey’  

August 6, 2020

UKWA is urging members and the wider logistics sector to investigate the significant funding opportunity of government R&D tax credits.

Introduced back in 2000, the incentive has been largely under used by warehousing and logistics businesses, despite the sector’s reputation for innovation.

The tax incentive chimes with UKWA’s strong message that members must keep up with technology and join the digital world or be left behind.

“Implementing new technology like automation or robotics will be critical to ensure our industry can optimise productivity going forward. Only by embracing innovative new technologies can we continue to provide the efficient service customers require at the right price – sustainably and profitably,” says UKWA CEO Peter Ward. “R&D tax credits can help fund a sizable part of a company’s investment in such digital transformation.”

He adds, “The coronavirus lockdown has seen an explosion of online shopping, which experts agree is likely to continue and accelerate. Accordingly, retailers are looking to 3PLs to help them streamline their fulfilment and home delivery services, this in turn is driving requirement for more automation.

“Member feedback tells us that cost is a major barrier to investment in new technology, so obtaining government funding towards spend that is key to business development and growth is frankly a ‘no brainer’!”

UKWA recently joined R&D tax credits specialist (and UKWA Associate Member) ForrestBrown, to deliver a webinar explaining the benefits and how to get involved. This has been enthusiastically received by members, many of whom were unaware of the scheme or their eligibility for it.

view webinar

ForrestBrown’s Adam Kotas explained, “Whether your investment is part of a digital transformation or a more physical one — the development or modification of a specialist piece of kit, for example — your business could well be entitled to R&D tax credits. This is a debt-free cash benefit from the government and we can complete the process within weeks. Our chartered tax adviser status means we deliver you the maximum value with quality assurance built in.”

Since the start of lockdown, ForrestBrown has delivered over £35m back to its clients via R&D tax credits – funding which has made a major difference to those businesses. In some circumstances, claims can be prepared in just two to three weeks, and with HMRC able to process claims in four, businesses could see a cash injection resulting from R&D Tax Credits in as little as six weeks.

Under the government’s R&D guidelines, a loss-making SME can recoup up to a third of money spent on R&D, ForrestBrown explains, while a profit-making SME can recoup 25% – a significant contribution either way and a  boost towards making major investment in hi-tech automation and robotics or another type of process improvement.

Peter Ward concludes, “Where members are planning to do something greener, cheaper, faster or safer – for example, making a process cheaper by automating a process and reducing labour costs – odds are, this could be eligible for R&D tax credits.”

For those who have not previously considered this funding incentive and would like to know more, members should contact UKWA Associate Member ForrestBrown or, in the first instance view the webinar.