Ellie Ames 22 December 2023

‘Growth zones’ for West Midlands in UK first

‘Growth zones’ for West Midlands in UK first image
Image: UAV 4 / Shutterstock.com

The West Midlands is to become the first UK region to receive new ‘growth zone’ powers, which the combined authority said could generate £1.7bn.

The councils that host the three new growth zones will be able to retain 100% of business rates for 25 years.

The powers were agreed as part of the Government’s ‘deeper devolution’ deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: ‘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 zones could generate £1.7bn for regeneration investment, create 60,000 jobs and deliver 4,500 new homes, the WMCA has said.

The combined authority said the zones were selected based on regeneration priorities and to make the most of transport corridors including highway connections and forthcoming Metro extensions.

One of the new zones will straddle Dudley and Sandwell, a second will be in Walsall and a third will cover parts of East Birmingham and North Solihull.

The WMCA’s portfolio holder for levelling up and devolution, Sharon Thompson, said: ‘This welcome announcement demonstrates the true potential of devolution: local councils identifying their areas of greatest opportunity, proposing innovative approaches to regeneration that meet local need, and then working with the combined authority to draw down new powers from government.’

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