Two North-East areas are lagging behind the rest of the UK in research and development investment.

Middlesbrough is the lowest spender on innovation, according to an analysis of latest data by tax relief specialists Catax, while Darlington is just fifth from the bottom.

Middlesbrough spent just £71 per person, while Darlington spent £94 between 2017 to 2018.

Catax bosses says companies don't know what they can claim as research and development to then receive a tax incentives.

Any business that spends time and money developing new products, business processes or services can claim tax incentives.

Mark Tighe, CEO of Catax, said: “Thousands of companies will face financial difficulty in the coming months as the coronavirus crisis bites. It’s a tragedy that many of these companies will ultimately go bust without realising they could have claimed significant sums under the R&D tax relief scheme.

“There needs to be more education among small businesses over what counts as R&D and how they can claim. A piece of software, a new innovative menu item in a restaurant or a simplified manufacturing process can all qualify.”