There was a mention of Innovate UK grant funding in yesterday’s Autumn budget, with some media outlets suggesting that all grants will be turned into loans, however, George Osborne actually said:
“And we’ll protect the cash support we give through Innovate UK – something we can afford to do by offering £165 million of new loans to companies instead of grants, as France has successfully done for years.It’s one of the savings that helps us reduce the BIS budget by 17%.”
It will be interesting to see how this will manifest itself. Innovate UK dished out around £1 billion in grants last year, and it looks like these loans are being portrayed as a “cut”.
Perhaps they will be offered alongside grants as a blend of cash and loans, perhaps there will be some closer to market competitions, with only loans on offer?
Further delving into the supporting documentation suggests the later:
“2.77 The government will introduce new finance products to support companies to innovate following best practice in countries such as France, Finland and the Netherlands. These will replace some existing Innovate UK grants, and reach £165 million per year by 2019-20, so that total Innovate UK support is maintained in cash terms.”