WMCA in talks to become one of the government’s ‘Investment Zones’ | News

The Chancellor has said the zones will be low-tax and low-regulation

Published 18 minutes ago
Last updated 18 minutes ago

The Chancellor has announced that the government is in talks with dozens of local authorities to create low-tax, low-regulation ‘Investment Zones’, including the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Laying out his mini-budget, Kwasi Kwarteng told the House of Commons: “The time it takes to get consent for nationally significant projects is getting slower, not quicker, while our international competitors forge ahead. We have to end this.

“To support growth right across the country, we need to go further, with targeted action in local areas.

“We will liberalize planning rules in specified agreed sites, releasing land and accelerating development.

“And we will cut taxes, with businesses in designated sites enjoying the benefit of generous tax reliefs”.

During the Tory leadership campaign, Prime Minister Liz Truss said ‘Investment Zones’ would be central to her plan to boost growth.

The Government is also considering converting the post-Brexit freeports introduced by Boris Johnson into ‘Investment Zones’, where further deregulation is expected.

The 38 areas in discussion to become ‘Investment Zones’ also include Warwickshire County Council.

What is an ‘Investment Zone’?

The government says: “Investment Zones will drive growth and unlock housing across the UK by lowering taxes and liberalizing planning frameworks to encourage rapid development and business investment”.

Areas hosting Investment Zones will benefit from:

Lower fees: “Businesses in designated sites will benefit from time-limited tax benefits”.

Accelerated development: “There will be designated development sites to both release more land for housing and commercial development, and to support accelerated development. The need for planning applications will be minimized and where planning applications remain necessary, they will be radically streamlined. Development sites may be co -located with, or separate to, tax sites, depending on what makes most sense for the local economy”.

Wider support for local growth: “Subject to demonstrating readiness, Mayoral Combined Authorities hosting Investment Zones will receive a single local growth settlement in the next Spending Review period.

You read more about zones, including the decision process and when they will be set up, on the government’s website.

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