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Home » New ‘Growth Zones’ For West Midlands Could Generate £1.7bn

New ‘Growth Zones’ For West Midlands Could Generate £1.7bn

A ground-breaking new deal aimed at boosting jobs, skills and health has been secured for the West Midlands.

Three parts of the region have now been designated as ‘Growth Zones’ which civic leaders say could generate more than £1.7 billion for local councils to spend on levelling-up projects.

The West Midlands is said to be the first UK region to be awarded the green light to create growth zones which will allow councils to retain business rates for 25 years.

This money can then be used to help rebalance and grow the region’s economy while also tackling long-standing issues causing deprivation, fuel poverty, jobs, skills and health.

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West Midlands Combined Authority said the three zones had the potential to create 60,000 jobs and deliver 4,500 new homes. The three designated areas are one straddling Dudley and Sandwell, a second in Walsall and a third covering parts of east Birmingham and north Solihull.

The Growth Zone proposals were secured by the combined authority earlier this year as part of the region’s Deeper Devolution Deal with central Government which has seen some powers and financial controls transferred out of London to the region.

Combined with the Chancellor’s recent announcement for a West Midlands Investment Zone, it means every local authority in the region will benefit from new financial powers to meet the priorities for their communities and businesses.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The Deeper Devolution Deal agreed with the Government back in March was a real vote of confidence in our region – placing trust in local leaders to deliver for local people.

“We’re now starting to see the promised new powers and funding flow. Alongside the recent announcement of Investment Zone status for the West Midlands, the unveiling of Growth Zones will supercharge our ability to drive forward regeneration right across our region in the places that need it most.

“By securing this new approach, where local authorities will be provided with greater financial certainty and control thanks to long-term business rates retention, we can work together to revitalise local neighbourhoods and improve the lives of residents in the months and years ahead.”

The Growth Zones have been developed jointly by the local authorities and the West Midlands Combined Authority, working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities.

They are now in the process of going through the necessary legal procedures with central Government prior to being formally signed off.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement saw the West Midlands declared an Investment Zone, powered by sites in Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry and Warwick, and accompanied by millions of pounds of funding for new infrastructure, tax breaks and business rate retention for councils.

Those three zones have the power to drive up to £5.5 billion of growth across the region and more than 30,000 new jobs by 2034, according to the combined authority.

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