Investment zones ‘key to bringing in billions’, say Tory mayors

Leading Tory mayors say roll-out of investment zones across UK could attract billions of investment and create thousands of jobs

‘Decisive intervention’: Andy Street

Leading Tory mayors said the roll-out of investment zones across the UK could attract billions of investment and create thousands of jobs.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday unveiled the plans which will grant huge tax cuts for business and relax planning restrictions. 

Former John Lewis boss and Tory West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the new scheme is a ‘decisive intervention that will be absolutely right for levelling up’. He said the zones will turbocharge investment in his Red Wall region. 

‘They are putting this on steroids. I think it will bring further investment into the region more quickly,’ he said. 

Ben Houchen, Conservative mayor for Tees Valley, was also enthusiastic. Development of a freeport has already attracted £3.5billion of committed investment to the region. 

But Houchen said this would ‘not even touch the sides’ of the ‘eye-watering amounts’ of funding that will pour in over ten years with the addition of the investment zones. 

He said: ‘The investment zones that are used to unlock growth are like supercharged freeports. The simplification and tax cuts are hugely appealing both to local businesses and across the world. 

‘It takes the best of the freeport plan and extends it beyond large brownfield industrial sites.’