Chancellor Jeremy Hunt Vows to Establish “12 Potential Canary Wharfs” Across the UK

In a bid to level up the UK’s poorest areas, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has revealed plans to establish 12 new investment zones across the country. These zones will be constructed in partnership with local governments and universities or research institutes, and will accelerate innovation clusters in promising industries such as technology, life sciences, and the green sector.

The Chancellor’s announcement comes as part of his Spring Budget, where he outlined the “four pillars of our industrial strategy” as “enterprise, employment, education and everywhere.” He hopes that successful applications for each zone will lead to the creation of 12 “potential Canary Wharfs” across the UK.

The identified areas for the new zones in England include West Midlands, Greater Manchester, North East, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Tees Valley, and Liverpool City Region. The Chancellor has also promised to construct at least one site in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

To be selected, each area will need to demonstrate a “bold and imaginative partnership” between local government and a university or research institute. They must also present plans to propel growth in priority sectors, identify private sector match funding, and support the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050. Successful bids will be entitled to £80 million of support from Downing Street over a five-year period, as well as access to flexible grant funding for skills development, business support, and infrastructure improvement.

The government hopes that these investment zones will drive growth and innovation across the UK, helping to level up the poorest areas and accelerate the development of promising industries.

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