In his first Spring Budget as Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt announced a number of ‘investment zones’ across the country.

The programme will provide 12 areas, split across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with £80 million in support and “put powers and money in the hands of communities that need it most”.

As part of the Government’s levelling up plans, these zones will drive business investment through “generous tax incentives” and bolster the UK’s potential as a hub for innovation.

In his speech, Hunt set out the eligibility for zones that wish to be part of the scheme. He said: “To be chosen, each area must identify a location where they can offer a bold and imaginative partnership between local
government and a university or research institute in a way that catalyses new innovation clusters.

“If the application is successful, they will have access to £80 million of support for a range of interventions, including skills, infrastructure, tax reliefs and business rates retention.”

The Government is using these investment zones to help deliver its mission from the levelling up white paper, which is “taking a holistic approach to ensure the benefits of growth and investment are felt by local communities”.

The first goal (or mission one) is to ensure that pay, employment and productivity rises in every area of the UK by 2030, creating “globally competitive cities” and bridging the gap between top-performing and lesser-developed areas.

Mission two is to increase public investment in R&D outside the Greater South East by at least 40%, seeking to leverage at least twice as much private sector investment and drive productivity.

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