Saturday, December 9, 2023

Boost for life sciences sector as West Yorkshire hosts England’s third Investment Zone

The government has today (20 November) launched England’s third Investment Zone in West Yorkshire focussed on Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds, which will help to create more than 2,500 new jobs across the region over the next five years, and could unlock £220 million in investment.

The Chancellor has also confirmed the Investment Zones programme in England will be extended from five to 10 years, with the envelope of government funding and tax reliefs on offer now doubled to £160 million.

West Yorkshire will host one of 12 Investment Zones across the UK. It’s based around the region’s universities in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield and the cluster of life sciences businesses thriving in the area.

This includes the pioneering health tech company, Paxman Scalp Cooling, which supports patients to minimise hair loss during chemotherapy by manufacturing specialist hair caps. It is investing £5 million to bring their innovative health tech products to global markets and alongside it, the digital healthcare company Dedalus is investing £21 million to deliver digital and diagnostic tools for the NHS.

As a result of the Investment Zone, revamped sites specialising in health tech and digital will open up around West Yorkshire, unlocking over 2,500 jobs and over £220 million of investment across the region over the next five years.

This can be used flexibly between spending on interventions such as skills, research and development and local infrastructure, dependent on local need, and tax incentives such as 100% Stamp Duty Land Tax relief, an enhanced structures and buildings allowance at a rate of 10% per annum, an enhanced 100% first-year capital allowance, employer National Insurance Contributions relief, and 100% business rates relief.

Alongside this, the window to claim Freeport tax reliefs in England will be extended from five to ten years until September 2031, providing greater certainty to businesses looking to invest, delivering growth and jobs, and levelling up the economy.

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.

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