The research, by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, found that only five per cent of SMEs surveyed said they had taken advantage of entrepreneurial or research and development tax relief, capital allowances or Government investment incentives aimed at improving environmental performance. Perhaps even more alarming is that only a little over a third of UK SMEs are even aware of these schemes’ existence.
Capital allowances were the most well-known of the initiatives, followed by Government investment incentives, R&D relief and entrepreneurial relief.
Colin Fyfe, divisional director at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said: “While there are a range of incentive schemes available to businesses throughout the UK, it is apparent that few businesses are actually aware of what initiatives they can access and how.
“While not all funding and relief schemes are green-focused, there are a number of environmental initiatives that could benefit a business’ bottom line, as well as help them improve their green credentials, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive, Feed-In Tariffs and the Green Deal.”
Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) pay individuals and businesses for producing their own electricity via solar or wind power, as well as a reduction on standard electricity bills. The Renewable Heat Incentive is the next step on from FITs and measures the renewable heat produced by systems such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps or a biomass boiler.
The Green Deal is a Government incentive with the aim of upgrading energy inefficient buildings across the UK. Businesses and individuals will be able to have improvements made to their properties, such as insulation, with the suppliers being paid for these improvements via the Energy Bill – saving on upfront and longer-term heating costs for the recipients.
Fyfe continued: “These incentive schemes are established to encourage businesses to work more efficiently and ultimately save money. For the take-up to be less than one in twenty is concerning.
“All businesses could be looking at how they save on their energy costs just by adopting simple measures such as encouraging staff to turn lights off after use, regularly checking thermostat settings and switching computers off at night.”