"We look forward to working with partners to design and deliver the support for supply chain and skills that this funding will enable us to deliver."
Warwickshire is set to play a central role in the new “Investment Zone” programme announced by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week, as part of his Autumn Statement.
The West Midlands will have an Investment Zone focused on advanced manufacturing, linked to creating more than 30,000 jobs and attract £5.5bn of investment over 10 years to 2034. The West Midlands Zone joins another 11 zones in the UK focused on a variety of sectors.
The Chancellor also announced that the funding package for the zone will be increased from £80m to £160m and can be applied over 10 years rather than five as originally proposed. Mr Hunt also revealed a new £150m Investment Opportunity Fund that is set to be available for these zones and freeports for the next five years.
The zone will cover the region but is focused on three specific sites.
* Coventry-Warwickshire Gigapark – anchored by a new battery gigafactory and associated businesses and technologies
* Birmingham Knowledge Quarter – running northeast from Aston University through Duddeston and Nechells to Aston
* Wolverhampton Green Innovation Corridor – creating new green industries and skills through a partnership between the city council and university.
The zone will benefit from a mix of tax incentives, direct funding and business rate retention. It will focus on driving growth in advanced manufacturing, green industries, health-tech and underlying digital technologies.
The sites within Warwickshire and Coventry will be offered tax relief and business incentives such as funding roads and power facilities, as the larger airport site gears up to land an anchor battery cell manufacturer.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “It’s great news that we now have confirmation that our region will play host to an Investment Zone – incorporating sites from Wolverhampton to Birmingham to Coventry. This will turbo-charge the prospects of some of our key areas of strength including tech, advanced manufacturing, and green industries. Working alongside the outstanding research capabilities of our world-leading universities, this Investment Zone will enhance our ability to attract global companies to our region”.
The West Midlands Investment Zone has the potential to initially attract more than £2bn of new investment into the regional economy and a further £3.5bn over the lifetime of the zone, creating more than 30,000 jobs by 2034.
Investment Zone funding is also expected to support a range of skills and business support programmes across the whole region.
Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for Economy, said:
“The Chancellor’s announcement last week locks the county and region into the Investment Zone programme, and will help the local area to build on its strong position in terms of battery technology R&D and the automotive supply chain and other nascent applications for battery cell technology. We look forward to working with partners to design and deliver the support for supply chain and skills that this funding will enable us to deliver.
"We are delighted to see the increased funding announced. There is much we can do to build on existing support for local businesses in relevant sectors to grow, to develop our local advanced engineering and manufacturing sites, and to harness the strength of our university and R&D eco-system to attract new supply chain here from overseas, making the most of our strong track record in Foreign Direct Investment attraction”.