Companies working on innovative projects received almost £3.7 billion in Government support for the 2015/16 tax year, HMRC statistics show.
In total, 43,040 companies in the UK claimed research and development (R&D) tax credits in 2015/16 - up 22% on the previous year.
So far, 39,960 claims have been made for the 2016/17 tax year, adding up to £3.5 billion in support. These figures are expected to increase as more returns are received.
R&D relief is available to companies that work on innovative projects in science and technology, with the aim of making an advance in their field.
While the data showed an increase in claims, the amount of relief businesses claimed for remained relatively low.
Three-quarters of businesses claimed less than £50,000, while the average claim to date is £53,000.
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