Manchester in the running to acquire low tax investment zones - 07/10/22

Previously, the UK government concluded extended negotiations with the Welsh government on terms of creating a lower tax freeport in Wales. This has led Prime Minister Truss to believe they may be a valuable asset to Britain, with plans to include them throughout Wales, Scotland and Ireland in the future if successful.

These new investment zones, named ‘full fat freeports’ will benefit from a low tax burden, reduced planning restrictions and regulations tailored on a case-by-case basis. Residents who live and work in the area may even find themselves benefitting from a cut to personal taxes.

As of recent, 38 areas are to be chosen to get its own investment zone, and one of them is Manchester. The reason given by officials is these zones will help break a ‘cycle of stagnation’, where the UK has fallen behind, resulting in higher taxes- which as of late has nearly reached its highest levels since the late 1940s.

The government hope that these new investment zones increase productivity, job prospects, and encourage new investment opportunities for developers: the construction of new shopping centres, restaurants, apartments, and offices.

Dr Gordon Fletcher, an expert who resides in Retail and Business at the University of Salford Business School has commented, "The zone has a core where the costs of doing business and other barriers, such as planning requests, would be freed up. In theory, businesses that located in the Investment Zone would find it easier, quicker, and cheaper to go about their operations than elsewhere in the UK.”

Andy Burnham expressed his thoughts, explaining that the new zones are likely to be set up in locations the council deem as part of their current ‘concept of growth locations’, which includes 6 areas within the city region.

“An outer ring of the zone would also make planning permissions easier to build new houses for the expected increase in workers in the region. Workers living in this outer zone could, perhaps more controversially, enjoy reduced rates of income tax and other types of incentives."

It seems these new investment zones will positively affect Manchester as a whole but may not leave room for smaller developers to develop in the areas, as the chosen locations seem to already be under development with detailed concepts of growth.