Automotive manufacturer reclaims over £75,000 in R&D tax credits


A Redditch based presswork supplier for the automotive sector has won an HMRC corporation tax credit with the help of a team of R&D (research and development) tax specialists from Wolverhampton.

AE Oscroftand Sons Ltd reclaimed £75,745 under the R&D scheme with R&D Tax Claims Ltd of Wolverhampton. The third generation family business was started by Arthur Oscroft in Redditch in 1947. The company specialises in low to high volume manufacturing and assembly as well as robotic MIG welding, resistance welding, precision machine processes, plating and coating for a global market and the site now includes newly introduced tool-making facilities.

Chris Oscroft is managing director.

“My granddad used to make and fix things”, says grandson Chris, now managing director. “It was towards the end of World War Two, and Granddad used to drive a Type 35 model Bugatti. It wasn’t his - it belonged to a local vet, and Granddad made parts for the car whenever they needed replacing. He also made toys and bits of machinery in his garden shed. His day job was at the Austin motor company in Longbridge and he used his shed as what we would now call a small R&D facility for Austin.He started to do odd jobs for other companies, then in 1947 he installed a power press in his shed and he was away, making parts for Triumph Coventry and later Land Rover.

“My father Chris, now Chairman, and his brother Ian, carried on from his father

and I started work here 20 years ago in a view to taking the business forward with my cousins Tim Oscroft and Guy Oscroft, with the family learning everything they now know from the shop floor up. We make metal pressings, assemblies and prototype projects in a diverse range of materials for all kinds of industries and offer R&D assistance in product design and development. We’re happy to share our knowledge with customers at any stage, from concept through design prototype and pre production to full production.”

The company recently relocated from a nearby 19,000sq ft site to a 53,000+sq ft site in Washwood, Redditch, investing almost £2m in the move.

“Our biggest client is Spanish automotive chassis manufacturer Gestamp, and much of our work goes into Honda, JLR, Nissan, Renault and Toyota”, says Chris.

R&D Tax ClaimsLtd consultant Peter Roach handled the reclaim process. “I’ve known Peter since he was an adviser with MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service)” says Chris. “I knew about the tax reclaim scheme but we were so busy working on the business we thought we didn’t have time to investigate it. Peter was quickly able to identify the R&D element of our work and to define the R&D stages of our processes to document for HMRC. He is now helping us facilitate a process where we record our R&D activity going forward and control it within our management systems, so future reclaiming becomes a seamless process.

“Peter has been invaluable to us and people like MAS and R&D Tax Claims are part of the reason we are here today.”

Chris and his directors have watched the current trend of reshoring with interest. “When work started to leave the UK we were worried. We then noted that a lot of it was coming back to be fixed or finished. Many of our big name customers are based here and they recognise that if their UK supply chain collapses because of outsourcing, it will cause them severe difficulties. Our customersknow that we’re in the Midlands and can turn a problem around quickly and can control quality of output at all stages.”

AE Oscroft reclaimed £75,745 over two years.

“The money will be reinvested in the business because of increasing orders”, says Chris. “More capacity equals more growth equals more employment.”

“Many first tier companies rely heavily on companies like AEO to do the R&D for them”, says Mark Evans, managing director of R&D Tax Claims. “Second tiers take on a lot of the time, effort and risk and for the UK to continue to be recognised as a leader in the burgeoning automotive sector, our SMEs need to be supported and this scheme is a perfect example.”

Mark Evans says that SMEs are still slow to take up R&D tax credits. “People hear the word Research and not Development, and think that it’s not worth trying for. But R&D is about risk taking, and tax credits give business owners the confidence to take that risk. Smart businesses build it into their business model because they know they’ll get it back, even for failures.”

“We’re now looking at grant funding for new presses and are making large investments in both plant and people”, concludes Chris. “Our turnover is at £6m and we already have an order book for £7m next year, and the trend is looking the same for 2016. We’re the biggest kept secret in the automotive world and I’m very proud of that, but I think it’s time for companies like ours to shout louder.”

PIC L to R:Chris Oscroft, managing director, AE Oscroft and Sons Ltd (AEO)Mark Evans, managing director R&D Tax Claims Ltd