Liverpool unveiled as second UK Investment Zone in bid to put city at the 'forefront of UK science'

Thu 27 Jul 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Liver building lit up at night

The government has today (27 July) unveiled Liverpool as the second of the UK’s Investment Zones, with both national and local authorities saying it will build up the city as a major hub for medical innovation and life sciences.

The Department for Levelling Up said in a statement that it hopes the policy will unlock £320m of private investment and provide 4,000 jobs across the North West of England over the next five years, including in Liverpool, St Helens and Runcorn.

Liverpool follows

Earlier this month, South Yorkshire was announced as the first of the UK’s Investment Zones. With the Yorkshire-based zone building up the high-quality manufacturing sector, the Liverpool City Region will focus on life sciences, looking to expand the pre-existing Speke Pharma cluster.

The government aims to transform the region into “a pharmaceutical production superpower” with £80m of funding into areas such as skills and infrastructure.

TriRx, a US pharmaceutical manufacturer, has made an initial investment of £10m, and the University of Liverpool is said to be working on the zone.

Growth

Kiera O’Keeffe, Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT lead for foreign direct investment (FDI) strategy and investment zones, said:

“This is an incredible boost for the Liverpool City Region, and a great opportunity for life sciences research and development for the UK. IOE&IT is excited to connect with the Liverpool and its inward investment teams to support the Investment Zone.

“We are equally excited continue to build on our relationships with the region, and transform and translate the joint work and successes we have had with Liverpool’s Freeport programme to the region’s new Investment Zone.”

Minister Lee Rowley said:

“Investment Zones will drive growth across the UK. For Liverpool City Region that means over £300 of private investment and 4,000 new, well-paid jobs – all building on the city’s world leading reputation in medical science.”

‘Budding industries’

The idea of Investment Zones was first announced by then-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in his 2022 ’mini budget’. His successor, Jeremy Hunt, made changes to the policy, reducing the number of sites to 12 as part of the 2023 Spring Budget package.

Responding to the 2023 budget, IOE&IT director general, Marco Forgione, said the policy would “accelerate much needed research and development in the UK’s ‘most budding industries’ and this is essential to ensure the UK remains competitive in trade in services.”

Future zones

Six more investment zones are due to be announced in England. Two more are expected in Scotland, with Glasgow City Region and North East of Scotland “offering the most potential”, according to the government.

Discussions are on-going with devolved governments in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ambitions for the region

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, welcomed the news but said it was “just a down payment” on his future ambitions for the area, explaining that he wanted to establish the region as a leader in science and innovation. Liverpool is also already host to one of England’s eight freeports.

John Lucy, Liverpool City Region Freeport director, said:

"Liverpool's Investment Zone will complement the benefits of the region's freeport, which became operational in January and will deliver thousands of new jobs and £850m for the local economy".