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Liverpool leaders bullish on Investment Zone potential

As we approach one year since Investment Zones were first announced by then-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in the Autumn ‘mini-budget’, mid-market business leaders in Liverpool City Region are encouraged by the blueprint for what it could mean for the selected regions.

In Grant Thornton’s latest Business Outlook Tracker* survey, over three quarters of business leaders in Liverpool City Region (80%) said that the introduction of Investment Zones will help towards the government’s Levelling Up agenda, in comparison to the 68% national average.

Businesses can see benefits to local areas from the introduction of Investment Zones, with a significant number of respondents citing that being located within one of the Zones would help to support the local region, with factors such as job creation and skills development (80%) and be beneficial to local businesses (78%).

Investment Zones provide a number of financial incentives to local businesses in the area and a clear majority (80%) of Liverpool business leaders believe that these incentives, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax relief and 100% Business Rates relief, have been focused on the right areas to encourage business investment. While almost three quarters (74%) also believe that being located within an Investment Zone would encourage businesses to stay within the local area.

However, the survey revealed that business leaders in the Liverpool City Region believe that the 12 proposed locations are not completely adequate, with 78% believing that there should be more Investment Zones located in other areas in the UK.

Currently, eight of the 12 proposed Investment Zones will be in England, with at least one of the remaining four in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Eight have already been shortlisted in England, including Liverpool City Region.

David Hillan, head of tax and at the Liverpool office at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “From our latest tracker, it is clear business leaders in the Liverpool City Region can envisage the benefits the extra funding will have on the city, which will hopefully help drive long term economic growth and increase opportunities for all who are located here.

“The majority of businesses here in Liverpool were also extremely optimistic about business revenues and funding for the rest of 2023, which is great to see after a period of economic and political uncertainty we have all been privy to.

“That said, there’s clearly an opinion from businesses in the Liverpool City Region that we need more throughout the UK to really have an impact on the overall economy too, and I’m sure some regions will feel as if they have missed out on these much-needed funding pots.”

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