Norfolk set to contain ‘low-tax investment zone’

3:28 PM September 20, 2022

Norfolk has been earmarked as the location for one of 12 ‘low tax investment zones’ being set up across the country as part of the government’s flagship policy to supercharge economic growth.

Under the strategy – which was a central element of South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss’ campaign to become prime minister – taxes would be lowered and regulation lightened in selected spots around England.

Planning laws would also be relaxed in the chosen areas, to encourage more homes to be built on land next to the benefiting industries. 

Prime minister Liz Truss unveiling her plans to ease the cost of energy for UK households on Septemb

Prime minister Liz Truss made the policy a key plank of her leadership campaign. Her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (right) is expected to outline details of the scheme on Friday.
– Credit: PA Wire

Ministers hope that the measures will incentivise investment in certain areas and accelerate economic growth.

If Norfolk is selected for a zone it would likely cover just one area, rather than the whole county.

It is understood that Whitehall officials are eyeing up an area encompassing some of Breckland – parts of which are in Ms Truss’ own constituency – and south Norfolk, along the so-called ‘A11 corridor’.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, welcomed the initiative but suggested other locations might be more suitable.

“Over the past few years, we have had a number of enterprise zones across Norfolk and Suffolk which have proved very successful in attracting new business, stimulating investment and creating jobs, so the principle of investment zones sounds attractive.

Chris Starkie, of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. Picture: Submitted

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership
– Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

“Obviously we’d need to understand the details, and we’d certainly want to ensure that Norfolk was well-positioned to take advantage of any initiatives like this.

“What we wouldn’t want to see is investment zones in other parts of the country and Norfolk losing out.

“I think it would be reasonable to look at areas with higher deprivation – Great Yarmouth, Thetford, King’s Lynn, where there’s also the potential for growth.

“But we’ve also got to make sure it wouldn’t disadvantage rural areas of the county.”

John Fuller, Conservative leader of South Norfolk Council, also welcomed the idea.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council

John Fuller, Conservative leader of South Norfolk Council
– Credit: Denise Bradley

He said: “Extending the globally significant Oxford to Cambridge corridor up towards Norwich, with its leadership in life sciences, the environment and engineering, could be given rocket boosters, if Norfolk receives one of these zones.

“Our country is at a turning point and we’re all going to need to have to think of new ways of doing things to continue to earn our place in the world. If Norfolk is part of the plan, then it’s something we should welcome.” 

Further details on the zones are expected to be given by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in an emergency budget on Friday.

Leave a Comment