Scotland announces first two Investment Zones with £160m earmarked investment

Scotland announces first two Investment Zones with £160m earmarked investment

Neil Gray MSP

Scotland is set to create its first two Investment Zones in the Glasgow City Region and the North East, with up to £160 million of targeted investment, tax reliefs, and other incentives being earmarked over the next five years.

This joint initiative by the Scottish and UK governments aims to bolster the economy, stimulate business growth, and generate high-quality, well-paid jobs. Glasgow City Region and the North East will each be supported by up to £80m.

These Investment Zones, focusing on innovation and fair work, have been customised by Scottish ministers to align with the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. They will support sectors such as net zero, digital, and life sciences, with a strong emphasis on fair work. This approach mirrors the Green Freeports’ arrangements.

The delivery of this initiative is in the hands of each area’s Regional Economic Partnership, who will propose which sectors should be prioritised, based on regional strengths and activity within higher and further education institutions. Regional leaders, businesses, and universities are expected to take the lead in shaping and developing specific plans, with both the Scottish and UK governments playing an equal role in decision-making and overseeing delivery.

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said: “This is a milestone in the delivery of Investment Zones in a way that enhances Scotland’s economy while aligning with our distinctive priorities.

“Scotland already has a strong track record in innovation and research and the Investment Zones can build on these strengths. They will form part of a joined up approach that draws on the expertise of our world-leading research, education and training institutions, dynamic business sector and skilled workforce and will enable local communities to benefit.

“A rigorous process has been followed in selecting Glasgow City Region and the North East and we look forward to working in partnership with them to create high quality jobs and ensure that fair work practices, including payment of the real Living Wage, are embedded in the Investment Zones from the outset.

“We will, of course, continue to invest in all of Scotland’s regions, for instance through Growth and City Region deals, to build on their strengths and stimulate jobs and growth.”

This comes following the UK government’s Spring Budget 2023 commitment to establish 12 Investment Zones across the UK, including in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, alongside eight proposed locations in England.

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