By Peter Makossah
His Majesty the King’s Government has disclosed that 12 new Investment Zones will be created across the UK, including one in the East Midlands, as part of his Spring budget plans.
The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has announced the creation of 12 new investment zones to “drive business investment and level up” the country.
In his Spring Budget today chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the 12 areas agreed are: the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the north-east, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Teesside, and Liverpool.
There will also be at least one investment zone in Scotland, one in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
Each English investment zone will have access to interventions worth £80m over five years, including tax reliefs and grant funding.
Local government and research institutions will be able to tailor their Investment Zone plan to their local circumstances.
To be chosen, each area must identify a suitable location.
The Treasury said plans must “credibly set out” how local partners will use the levers available to “propel growth in priority sectors, identify private sector match funding, and use the local planning system to support growth”.
The low tax Investment Zones are being introduced to boost growth in areas outside London and will be clustered around universities and research centres.
Each zone is to get £80 million of support over five years, with tax incentives to attract businesses and the local council leaders have since given the news their blessings.
Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “I welcome further opportunities to bring much-needed funding to the East Midlands. Our region has often been an area of low Government funding, compared to many other areas of the UK.
“So, it is important that we continue to work with our neighbouring authorities to explore all opportunities to unlock the economic potential of our combined areas.”
Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change, said:
“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the co-design of an Investment Zone for Derbyshire and the East Midlands Combined Authority area.
“We’re proud to be a driving force for regeneration and levelling up in Derbyshire and an Investment Zone has the potential to boost economic growth and prosperity throughout our county and the East Midlands.
“We look forward to working with Government, our neighbouring combined authority colleagues, and partners including local district and borough councils, to help turn Investment Zone proposals into a reality for our region.”
Councillor Ben Bradley, MP and Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I’m really pleased that our East Midlands Combined Authority plans are opening doors for us, and bringing opportunities like Investment Zones that we wouldn’t otherwise have.
“Only areas like ours that are involved in devolution plans are eligible for these kinds of projects, so it’s great that our region is at the front of the queue.
“Across the County, and the region we have massive opportunities for growth, like our Freeport, our Development Company, STEP Fusion, and Integrated Rail Plans. Investment Zone incentives can only add to that opportunity. We’ve got so much going on!
“I hope we can harness all of this to ensure that we deliver amazing outcomes for our residents in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. I look forward to working with Government and local partners on the plans.”
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said: “It’s good to see Local Government being consulted and working to co-create schemes. Proposals for Investment Zones are very welcomed here in Derby – especially relevant given our area’s trailblazing status for advanced manufacturing and creativity, mentioned as one of the key areas – and we look forward to working with Government on developing this.
“The D2N2 area being chosen as one of only eight areas really reinforces our reasons for pursuing a Combined Authority; we want to make the most of every opportunity presented to us, so we can make a real difference to people’s lives. The Combined Authority continues to be a catalyst for the area.”
“So, it is important that we continue to work with our neighbouring authorities to explore all opportunities to unlock the economic potential of our combined areas.”Councillor David Mellen
Leader of Nottingham City Council