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Sunday, July 14, 2024

West Yorkshire Investment Zone announcement

West Yorkshire could soon be home to an £80m Investment Zone that has the potential to become a “Canary Wharfe” of Yorkshire.

In today’s Spring Budget Jeremy Hunt announced that the region was one of 12 places shortlisted to become an Investment Zone, where tax incentives will be used to attract businesses.

But there has been little detail on where in West Yorkshire such a zone would be based.

Liz Truss’ Government had planned for a much wider roll-out of these investment zones, asking local authorities to nominate multiple sites.

Proposals in Bradford included the “Southern Gateway” – a large section of the city centre between Manchester Road and Leeds Road, and a site near the M606 near the former Richard Dunn Centre and Odsal Stadium.

But these schemes were scrapped shortly after Mrs Truss was forced out of office.

News that West Yorkshire had been chosen to host an Investment Zone was revealed by Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe at a Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Cllr Hinchliffe said: “It is good to see that West Yorkshire has been shortlisted, although there does need to be more detail.”

IN today’s Spring Budget Mr Hunt said the shortlisted areas, which also include Liverpool, East Midlands and Tees Valley, could become “12 potential Canary Wharfs” – referring to the hugely successful London regeneration site.

Each successful zone would get £80m over five years.

It is thought the zones will be clustered around universities or other research institutions, and focus on areas like technology, creative industries, life sciences and the Green sector.

Referring to the budget, and the Investment Zone announcement, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “I’m pleased that government has recognised the strength of West Yorkshire and is choosing to work with us to deliver an investment zone. This will bring further opportunities for people across West Yorkshire and unlock more potential for our region.

“I also welcome energy support for households, as our communities continue to navigate through this crippling cost of living crisis. I’m glad that the Chancellor has listened to repeated calls from worried families up and down the country. But more needs to be done to safeguard businesses – many of whom are on the brink of collapse due to rising costs and inflation.

“I would have welcomed government taking this opportunity to recommit to Mass Transit, but we will continue to develop our plans and push Ministers for further funding.”

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