Innovation Zones could unlock growth in East Birmingham

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, writes about Birmingham City Council’s plans to attract investment into East Birmingham.

This week, Birmingham City Council has made an Expression of Interest to the government for a series of Investment Zones that have the potential to unlock growth across the east of our city. We have been working closely with our neighbours at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority on our bid, with nine sites overall across the region.

If successful, this bid would see the Council work with the government to attract new businesses to set up in the zones, helping to provide new jobs, build new homes and create new infrastructure.

We have made it clear to the government that Birmingham City Council has ambitious plans to drive investment and growth in our region, and in particular into the east of the city, where rates of deprivation and unemployment continue to hold far too many lives back.

The Investment Zones would help us to unlock growth in East Birmingham, providing the jobs and homes that our residents need, and providing the improved infrastructure to connect communities to employment sites.

The Investment Zones are likely to offer a series of incentives to help to drive investment from the private sector, however, I have made it clear to government that the tax breaks must also be accompanied by investment into infrastructure.

If we are to improve the lives and life chances of the people of East Birmingham and North Solihull then we will require significant investment from both the public and the private sector. By creating jobs and building vital infrastructure and improved transport links we can help to deliver true levelling up to this region.

An example of one of the sites is Tyseley Cluster, which provides a major opportunity for the future of low and zero-carbon energy technologies and is already home to the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre. It is also the proposed National Centre for the Decarbonisation of Heat.

I visited Tyseley this week to launch our bid for the Investment Zones and spoke to Professor Martin Freer, the Director of the University of Birmingham’s Energy Institute and the Energy Research Accelerator, and David Horsfall, Director at Tyseley Energy Park. They are both delighted that Tyseley has been selected as one of the Investment Zones, and said that their vision for the site is one that drives innovation, accelerates our transition to net zero, and stimulates growth that will support the large and diverse community of East Birmingham.

In the months ahead, we will continue to work closely with our partners across the region to make the case to government to select our Investment Zones and help to drive growth in our region, whilst also making the case that incentives for businesses must be matched with investment in infrastructure and protections for the environment.

This blog was published on 20 October 2022.


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