Today, on 20 November, the government has introduced the third Investment Zone in England, situated in West Yorkshire with a focus on Huddersfield, Bradford, and Leeds. This initiative aims to generate over 2,500 new jobs in the region within the next five years and has the potential to unlock £220 million in investments.
The Chancellor has also announced an extension of the Investment Zones programme in England from five to ten years. Additionally, the government funding and tax reliefs offered have been doubled to £160 million.
Prioritizing economic growth and strategic decision-making for long-term benefits is a key focus for the Prime Minister. These announcements are part of a broader strategy expected to be outlined in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, where reforms will be revealed to stimulate growth by attracting more private investment and facilitating employment.
West Yorkshire is set to host one of the 12 Investment Zones across the UK. Centered around the region’s universities in Leeds, Bradford, and Huddersfield, as well as a cluster of thriving life sciences businesses, this includes pioneering companies such as Paxman Scalp Cooling. Paxman is investing £5 million to expand its innovative health tech products globally, while Dedalus is investing £21 million to provide digital and diagnostic tools for the NHS.
As a result of the Investment Zone, rejuvenated sites specializing in health tech and digital fields will emerge in West Yorkshire, creating over 2,500 jobs and attracting over £220 million in investment across the region in the next five years.
This funding can be utilized flexibly for interventions like skills development, research and development, and local infrastructure based on local needs. It also includes various tax incentives such as 100% Stamp Duty Land Tax relief, a 10% per annum enhanced structures and buildings allowance, 100% first-year capital allowance, relief on employer National Insurance Contributions, and 100% business rates relief.
Furthermore, the Freeport tax relief window in England will be extended from five to ten years until September 2031, providing increased certainty for businesses seeking to invest, fostering growth, creating jobs, and promoting economic equality.
The UK Government aims to collaborate with the Scottish and Welsh governments to extend the Investment Zones and Freeports programs in Scotland and Wales. Efforts will also continue to support investment in Northern Ireland in consultation with stakeholders.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:
“We are changing our country for the long term, driving economic growth across all corners of the UK.
“It will mean thousands more jobs in the exciting industries of the future backed up by better infrastructure, and communities to be proud of.”
The Chancellor launched West Yorkshire’s Investment Zone alongside West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin at Paxman Cooling where they met executives and discussed the future growth of the company.
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said; “We know that devolution is working for West Yorkshire and this new investment zone is further recognition of that from the government.
“Home to NHS England, our region’s digital and health tech businesses are driving forward innovation and transforming the lives of patients world-wide.
“This investment is a massive vote of confidence in our top-tier universities and talented graduates and will help our mission to build a stronger, brighter region that works for all.”
The West Yorkshire Life Sciences Investment Zone will benefit from a range of interventions which include skills training and business support to encourage more business investment. The plan will boost innovation in the area’s thriving healthcare sector and create a talent pipeline at the forefront of technological advances.
Richard Paxman OBE, CEO of Paxman Scalp Cooling, said; “This news is incredibly exciting for the region and our health tech sector, and will only further attract investment in a sector that changes lives and makes a real impact commercially and socially.
“Paxman has invested significantly in the region over the past 5 years, attracting over £10 million of foreign direct investment. Now, we are more committed than ever before in increasing our presence and investment in Huddersfield – providing further employment growth and delivering additional investment in research and development.”
Daryll Goodall, Managing Director UK and Ireland at Dedalus, said; “We are delighted to be a key part of the West Yorkshire Investment Zone. As a Global Healthcare company, Dedalus work closely with local Universities and Hospital Trusts in the West Yorkshire area to help bring new products from Europe to the UK healthcare market, and using our team in Leeds we develop products specifically for the UK.
“We are excited about the future, having the opportunity to implement our ORBIS electronic patient record (EPR) in the UK, and continuing to develop local healthcare applications like OneResponse, a mobile EPR for ambulance services in the UK, and PatientAide, a mobile app for clinicians providing them with access to key services and patient information.”
John Naybour, CEO of Eventum Orthopaedics, said; “With £4.5 million raised so far, including investment from the Northern Powerhouse, Eventum is celebrating the successful launch of Quadsense, a groundbreaking product developed with invaluable support from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford.
“Recognized as the new frontier in total knee surgery at the American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeons, Quadsense has attracted huge interest in the global orthopaedic community, and has set the benchmark for our second innovative product which we are developing in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University.”
Businesses set to benefit from the investment zone include health tech companies like Eventum Orthopaedics, which works to improve patients’ experience of knee surgeries and is setting up 5 major orthopaedic hospitals in the UK, as they look to expand to markets in the US and New Zealand.
The government will continue to work with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local authorities to co-develop the plans for their Life Sciences Investment Zone, including agreeing on specific interventions to drive long-term growth, ahead of the final confirmation of plans.
With over 600 life sciences companies, 250 MedTech firms and over 90 digital health enterprises, West Yorkshire is a place where ideas come to fruition and innovative products and solutions are tested, embedded and scaled locally and internationally.
Building on this strength, the region’s Investment Zone includes four universities and is part of the government’s vision to drive growth in the sectors of the future including advanced manufacturing, green industries, digital and technology.
Leader of Bradford Council Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said: “We welcome the announcement for an Investment Zone in West Yorkshire, the third of its kind in the UK. Bradford will be one of the core locations for investment and the zone will focus on Bradford and West Yorkshire’s strengths in health and digital technology, including digitally-enabled manufacturing.
“Bradford has a celebrated heritage built on innovation and we’re excited about the opportunities this investment will bring. We have been working closely with the University of Bradford and other partners on a range of initiatives which will drive innovation and growth in Bradford, for the future.
“We are well placed to shape the rapidly changing business environment and establish the region at the forefront of UK innovation, maximising the opportunities this will bring to the district. We will continue to collaborate closely with the University of Bradford, partners across the district, and colleagues in Leeds and Kirklees to maximise the benefits for the people of West Yorkshire.”