Liverpool investment zone secures £80m funding

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Plans for a Liverpool investment zone have been given a boost with up to £80m of government funding to drive growth in the life sciences sector and deliver 4,000 jobs

The project will enhance inward investment into the region complementing the Liverpool freeport which opened in January.

The investment zone will focus on the life sciences sector and could be a catalyst for £320m of private investment, creating over 4,000 jobs across Liverpool, Runcorn, St Helens, Maghull and Prescot, the government claimed.

Minister for local government, Lee Rowley, said: ‘Investment zones will drive growth across the UK. For Liverpool, that means over £300m of private investment and 4,000 new, well-paid jobs – all building on the city’s world-leading reputation in medical science.’

Backed by an initial £80m in government funding, the zone will benefit from various tax reliefs and support for skills training.

The government will work with the Liverpool City Region, University of Liverpool and other local partners to co-develop the plans for the life sciences investment zone, including agreeing on priority development sites and specific interventions to drive growth, over the summer, ahead of final confirmation of plans.

The zone will be eligible for tax breaks with enhanced rates for capital allowances and structures and building allowances as well as being exempt from stamp duty land tax, business rates and national insurance contributions.

The health and life science sector already contributes an estimated £290m to Liverpool’s economy every year. The existing Speke Pharma cluster is one of the UK’s leading regions for bioprocessing.

Mark Proctor, AstraZeneca site lead for Speke, said: ‘AstraZeneca welcomes the establishment of the Liverpool City Region Investment Zone focused on life sciences, which has the potential to attract more businesses to the region’s already thriving medicine development and manufacturing cluster.

‘We employ 400 people at our site in Speke to manufacture our intranasal influenza vaccine, used in the UK for the child and adolescent immunisation programme and exported to markets around the world.

‘The site has the potential to expand into new technology platforms for vaccines and we look forward to working with the Liverpool City Region to identify opportunities to develop these capabilities in the coming years.’

As well as delivering jobs and driving economic growth, investment zones will be used to help provide new housing.

The government also said it would set up a new ‘super squad’ of expert planners, backed by £13m of funding, which will look at opportunities for major housing and infrastructure across eight investment zones in England.

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