12 ‘Canary Wharf’ zones to help level up Britain
BRITAIN will create a dozen new ‘Canary Wharfs’ to bring investment and high-paid jobs to parts of the country that have been left behind.
Yesterday the Chancellor announced that the investment zones will get £960million – or £80million each – over five years to train workers and fund tax breaks.
Companies in the ‘ high-growth’ areas could be spared stamp duty when they buy property, pay no business rates and see a reduction in employer national insurance contributions. They will be clustered around universities and be focused on driving growth in key sectors, including technology, creative industries and life sciences.
It is hoped the zones can bring well-paid jobs and skills to left-behind areas, and help with efforts to ‘level up’ the country.
Jeremy Hunt told the MPs: ‘Canary Wharf and the Liverpool docks were two outstanding regeneration projects that happened under a previous Conservative government.
They transformed the lives of thousands of people. They showed what’s possible when entrepreneurs, government and local communities come together.’
He called on bidders to offer ‘ bold and imaginative partnerships’ between councils, universities and research institutes.
The plans were seen as an olive branch to business as it reels from the hike in corporation tax to 25 per cent.
Proposals for investment zones were announced last year by then-prime minister
Liz Truss but were placed under review when Rishi Sunak took office.
Under Ms Truss’s plans, firms were also set to benefit from relaxed planning rules but this has not been announced by Mr Hunt.
Matthew Fell, of the Confederation of British Industry, said the zones will ‘drive growth across the country’.
But Darren Jones, chairman of the Commons business committee, said he was ‘concerned’ about the Government’s ‘fragmented approach’ to levelling up.