Appointments: KPMG boosts its Innovation Reliefs and Incentives group with new associate partner

Steve Blacker has joined KPMG’s Northern practice to head its Innovation Reliefs and Incentives group

Steve Blacker has joined KPMGs Northern practice to head its Innovation Reliefs and Incentives group
Steve Blacker has joined KPMGs Northern practice to head its Innovation Reliefs and Incentives group

With 15 years of advising businesses on their tax matters, the last nine specialising in government-sponsored R&D related reliefs within Deloitte, Steve will now be guiding KPMG clients to ensure they leverage the most value from their innovative activities.

He joins a national Innovation Reliefs and Incentives group of 60, and will work closely with the Newcastle-based team led by Debbie Reith. This growing practice works with North East businesses across all industry sectors, with a particular focus on manufacturing, food production, energy and digital technology, generating millions of pounds of savings each year.

Commenting on the UK R&D tax regime and his new role, Steve said: “Innovation is the watchword for so many enterprises in the North East and is incentivised by the Government through its generous R&D tax reliefs and Patent Box scheme, which offer businesses of all sizes significant cash savings for investing in a huge variety of R&D-related activities. In fact, from April 1 the R&D tax credit is being further enhanced, to 230% for SMEs and 11% for large companies.

“But the system is complicated and can be offputting for busy entrepreneurs or finance teams. A recent KPMG Enterprise survey of SMEs found only 5% had ever claimed R&D tax relief. This is an incredibly low figure in the context of all the entrepreneurial, and increasingly technological, activity we are aware of in this region.

“The team here supports clients throughout their development lifecycle, from the genesis of a concept and securing funding for its development into a prototype unit, process or system, through to the scale-up to full production levels and the resolving of associated technical challenges and finally the patenting of technologies. It’s undoubtedly an exciting area of commerce in which to support enterprising businesses.

“Our investment in specialists with significant experience means KPMG has a lot of success in not only working with clients at the start of planning for their innovative activities but also in reviewing R&D claims prepared in-house or by other advisers and identifying areas of R&D activity and costs that have been overlooked, often leading to significant claim enhancements and greater cashback.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer