Gordon Brown fulfilled industry hopes in yesterday's Budget speech by widening tax breaks for research and development (R&D) to larger firms.
The tax credit was previously open only to small to medium sized companies, broadly defined as those with up to 250 employees or £12m in assets.
The Chancellor said he will consult the industry on making this available to larger companies, but only for new spending on R&D rather than on existing budgets. Views on this plan are invited by the start of June.
In another R&D-related move, Brown brought the UK into line with the US by allowing tax relief on 'goodwill', the accounting category that includes non-patented intellectual property rights.
"This is going to be very good for IT companies when there's an opportunity for them to be bought or sold," said Andrew Bell, a tax partner at accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Bell explained that the move means that UK firms are more likely to be traded, making them a better option for employees owning stock. He said that, overall, the speech was "pretty positive" for IT.
In addition, telecoms users may be delighted to know that, thanks to them, the Chancellor was able to boast that he is paying off more of the national debt this year than all other governments of the last 50 years combined.
Brown plans to cancel £34bn of the national debt, compared with £9bn last year. As he mentioned in passing, this is largely due to the £23bn obtained by auctioning third-generation mobile phone licences.
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