The chancellor has said that 12 new Investment Zones will be created across the UK, including one in the East Midlands, as part of today’s budget announcement.

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.

Local council leaders have given their reaction, welcoming the news:

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 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 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.”

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, and 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.”

University leaders in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have also given their reaction:

Professor Neil Crout, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Nottingham said: 

“Universities are driving record levels of investment into the UK and the announcement of new investment zones clustered around leading research-intensive universities will help accelerate this innovation-fuelled growth for the East Midlands.

“The government’s announcement builds on the trail-blazing Universities as Drivers of Trade and Investment involving universities like Nottingham and our partners in the Midlands which will help level-up regional economies.”

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor and President of Nottingham Trent University, said:

‘I am delighted to hear that the East Midlands area has been short-listed as a potential Investment Zone location, the announcement plays to the strengths of the area in creative industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and the green sector.

Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham have an established and successful partnership through our Universities for Nottingham collaboration and this is a strong foundation from which to accelerate research and development into these high value sectors bringing benefit to businesses, residents, and students.”

Professor Warren Manning, Provost – Innovation and Research at the University of Derby, said:

“It is vital that the East Midlands is valued as an environment for innovation and opportunity. This level of strategic investment is needed for the region to bring better conditions for businesses to innovate, thrive and grow demand for highly skilled jobs.

“The University of Derby plays a key role in making the East Midlands a region for growth and investment. We are committed to supporting the levelling up agenda and welcome government’s proposals and opportunities for further economic growth and prosperity for our region.”

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