Scottish investment zone plans and boost for Glasgow following Budget
Scotland is set to benefit from an “investment zone” and a special fund to boost innovation and science in Glasgow.
The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the measures in the Budget on 15 March as part of the ongoing commitment to levelling up the UK economy.
However, it is not yet known where the investment zone – among 12 across the UK – will be located, only that they will be allocated through an application process.
Mr Hunt said only that the idea of the investment zones would be to recreate “outstanding regeneration projects” like London’s Canary Wharf and Liverpool Docks.
He said: “If the application is successful, they will have access to £80 million of support for a range of interventions including skills, infrastructure, tax reliefs and business rates retention.”
Mr Hunt said there would be at least one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
He also announced that £100m will be shared across Glasgow, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, “supporting them to become globally competitive centres for research and innovation”. They would focus on five key sectors: life sciences, creative industries, digital technology, advanced manufacturing, and green industries.
Technology was a key focus of the Budget with the annual £1m Manchester Prize AI research launched and a quantum computing hub promised as part of plans to invest up to £2.5bn over 10 years in the field. Mr Hunt also announced an enhanced R&D credit scheme to support scientific research and development.
Sir Keir Starmer has also pledged Labour’s industrial policy would back innovation. He made the pledge on a visit to Edinburgh where he toured a cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility to see at first hand innovative life sciences technologies.
At the medical research hub in the city’s BioQuarter, Sir Keir said how Labour’s industrial policy would make Scotland a “world leader” in medical technology and criticised the SNP and the Tories for mismanaging and neglecting the economy.
After Mr Hunt’s budget David Ovens of angel investor syndicate, Archangels, said: “We welcome the UK Government’s decision to reverse cuts to the R&D tax credit regime for small businesses.
“These credits will continue to play an important role as a source of cash for early stage, often loss making, companies, particularly in the technology and life science sectors.
“Combined with the Government’s plan … to make the UK a beacon of science, technology, and innovation, there are promising signs that our policymakers are beginning to realise the potential of these sectors to our prospects for economic growth.”