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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Thousands of new jobs promised as investment zone delivery plan approved

The Business Magazine article image for: Thousands of new jobs promised as investment zone delivery plan approved
CGI of West Midlands Gigafactory
18 June 2024
CGI of West Midlands Gigafactory

A detailed plan for the delivery of a West Midlands Investment Zone capable of attracting more than £5.5bn of private investment and over 30,000 new jobs has been given the green light today.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board has agreed a delivery plan that will combine a mix of tax incentives, direct funding and business rate retention for the zone.

The plan is focused on driving growth in advanced manufacturing, green industries, health-tech and underlying digital technologies.

The Investment Zone itself will cover the whole West Midlands but will be powered through three specific sites with bespoke funding and incentives for businesses who set up there.

 The three sites are:

  • The Coventry-Warwick Gigapark at Coventry Airport. Anchored by a new battery gigafactory and associated businesses and technologies, the site will get tax incentives, business rates retention and £23m investment for land remediation, infrastructure and connection to power grids
  • The Birmingham Knowledge Quarter – running northeast from the Birmingham City and Aston universities through Duddeston and Nechells to Aston. The Quarter will offer tax incentives, business rates retention and receive £9m investment for public realm works and active travel infrastructure to help attract investment
  • The Wolverhampton Green Innovation Corridor will create new green industries and skills through a partnership between the city council and university with £7m investment for land remediation and key infrastructure

Laura Shoaf, WMCA chief executive, said: “The Investment Zone is already attracting significant private sector investment and following the deployment of this delivery plan will have the potential to attract billions of pounds more as well as tens of thousands of new jobs.

“Those jobs are key because this investment zone needs to be as much about people as it is about business. That’s why our delivery plan includes a comprehensive skills programme so local people can get the jobs being created, especially those in the new technology-based and green industries.

“At the heart of our plan, which could not have been put together without the invaluable support of our local councils, universities and private sector, is the need for this zone to bring inclusive economic growth to every corner of our region. We believe the zone can do that by driving forward the technology based, low carbon industries of the future while attracting top companies from around the world.”

In approving the plan for delivering the zone over the first year, the Board was told that in getting development underway quickly, there was the potential to retain around £1.5bn of business rates over the zone’s 25-year lifespan – money that can be reinvested into the region instead of going back into government coffers.

That reinvestment would also be used to maintain a comprehensive business support and skills programme which will be set up in the first 12 months using £19 million of the £160 million of government funding allocated to the West Midlands zone over the next 10 years.

The zone has the potential to initially attract more than £2 billion of new investment into the regional economy and a further £3.5bn over its lifetime, creating more than 30,000 jobs by 2034.

The delivery plan will now be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for final agreement ahead of the release of the funding.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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