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Grants and Incentives

There are hundreds of millions of pounds available on an annual basis to support the development of business in the UK - from capital expenditure to R&D and training, there are grants to help companies innovate and grow.

Identifying the appropriate grant or incentive scheme, developing a compelling case for grant and complying with the requirements for managing a funded project can be complex and time consuming. The Deloitte UK Grants practice has more than 35 years of experience in providing grant advice in the UK. We have a 95% success record on UK grant applications.

Grant support - could I be eligible?

The starting point is to consider your medium-term investment plans. This may be in terms of:

Capital expenditure: plant and machinery, fixtures and fittings, land and buildings – see note 1
Job creation or safeguarding: either an increase to UK headcount or the safeguarding of UK jobs that would otherwise be lost – see note 1
Research and development: the development of new products or services, either on your own or in collaboration with third parties – see note 2
Business improvements: energy efficiency, carbon footprint reduction etc.
Incremental staff training and development: upskilling of existing or new staff

Key grant considerations

Timing

Ordinarily, a grant needs to be secured before a project commences.

Once a commitment is made to a project, a grant opportunity may be lost e.g. signing a lease, ordering capital equipment, making an announcement, recruiting staff etc.

Period to be included

A “project” is typically considered over a three or exceptionally a five year timeframe.

Depending on the project a grant application may be based on a single phase or multiple phases of an overall project programme.

Cash flow

Cash grants are typically paid in arrears with payments phased over key milestones within the project.

Grants are frequently claimed annually and subject to an audit

Types of grants


Most incentives are available in terms of cash grants although there is a trend towards repayable loans.

Support for a project could come from a number of different sources depending on the nature and scale of the project. The largest funding sources are:

  • Regional programmes: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate programmes in place to support company investment.
  • Innovate UK: This is the Government’s principle grant funding mechanism for supporting R&D in the UK. Funding is usually available through competitive calls and the programme encourages collaboration. Specific programmes are also available for SMEs.
  • Horizon Europe: This is the largest funding programme for R&D and Innovation in Europe. It primarily supports collaborative projects across a wide range of sectors to address technological and societal challenges.

Note 1: Capital Expenditure

Regional aid can be granted in certain circumstances as a proportion of the costs needed for a new commercial project. Grant assistance can be available for small and medium sized companies throughout most of the UK whilst assistance to large companies is restricted to projects located in a designated assisted area location (see map).

For capital intensive projects the grant may be based on the capital expenditure, subject to value for money measures, linked to the number of jobs created or safeguarded as a result of the project. For a service sector project assistance may be available towards the salary cost of net new jobs to be created.

The grant budget is held by separate bodies located in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. All of the regions have a continuously open grant application process except for England, which is based around periodic funding rounds.

Note 2: R&D

R&D grant funding may come from the UK (national funding) or the EU (Horizon Europe).

R&D - national funding

Grant assistance is available to support R&D in the UK and is typically routed as follows:

  • Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. They are a key source of funding to help business develop new products and services – to bring them closer to market. Innovate UK publishes in advance its budget by sector and calls for proposals are published on a regular basis;
  • Regional bodies. Grant assistance may also be routed via the separate bodies located in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Different to Innovate UK, the topic of R&D will typically be set by the applicant and not by the awarding body.

Funding is competitive and covers a variety of areas including feasibility studies, collaborative R&D and demonstration projects.

Grants are available to companies of all sizes – from start-ups to large multinationals. There are also a number of funding initiatives which focus on SMEs.


R&D - EU Funding (Horizon Europe)

Horizon Europe This will be the largest ever European funding programme for research and innovation, potentially offering a budget around EUR 100 million for the period from 2021 to 2027. Horizon Europe also will be based on three pillars: Open Science, Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness, and Innovative Europe.

Supporting all phases of your project

We are able to provide support throughout the grant process. This can include:

Grant Strategy

Through our detailed knowledge of the schemes we are able to provide a clear understanding of the merits of different grant funding routes. This will be linked to the future (typically next three years) investment priorities and results in a tailored summary of grant opportunities. This is important as some schemes are influenced by size of company, sector, scale of investment, and location of the project. We understand what this means in practice.

Project Positioning

With a 35 year history in providing advice on grants we understand what the grant providers are looking for and can help you to position a project efficiently.

Preparing the grant submission

We can help you with gathering and positioning information to support your application and advise on the consistency with your key messages.

Supporting the entire application process

We can advise you throughout the grant application process, including pre-meeting briefings, and help you progress your application efficiently. We can support you past the grant submission phase and continue up to and beyond receipt of a formal grant offer letter.

The grant offer letter

We can advise you on the implications of the terms and conditions within the grant offer letter for your business.

Scroll through to understand the process

Key contacts

Alistair Davies

Alistair Davies

Director

Alistair leads our Location Strategy and Grant & Incentives division in the UK. He has spent time seconded to Government where he was responsible for the negotiation and detailed financial appraisal o... More