Liverpool City Region confirmed as £320m investment zone
Focusing on life sciences and the pharmaceutical industry, the investment zone will encompass Liverpool, Runcorn, St Helens, Maghull, and Prescot, the government has announced.
Backed by £80m of government funding, the Liverpool City Region investment zone could leverage £320m of private sector investment over the next five years and “make Liverpool a pharmaceutical production superpower”, according to Whitehall.
An initial £10m investment will be made by US pharmaceutical manufacturer TriRx, which will go towards immunotherapy research at its Speke biotech facility.
The investment zone will benefit from a range of interventions that could include skills, infrastructure, and tax reliefs, depending on local circumstances, according to a statement published by the Department for Levelling Up, Homes, and Communities.
The statement added that the government would work with the Liverpool City Region and the University of Liverpool to co-develop the plans for the life sciences investment zone, including agreeing priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth.
“Investment Zones will drive growth across the UK. For Liverpool that means over £300m of private investment and 4,000 new, well-paid jobs – all building on the city’s world-leading reputation in medical science,” said levelling up minister Lee Rowley.
“The health and life sciences sector already contributes an estimated £290m to the Liverpool City Region’s economy every year. Building on this strength, the Liverpool City Region’s Investment Zone includes the University of Liverpool and is part of the government’s vision to drive growth in the sectors of the future including advanced manufacturing, green industries, digital and technology.”
One of the pharmaceutical companies based in Speke is AstraZeneca. The company employs 400 people who work on manufacturing an intranasal influenza vaccine.
Mark Proctor, general manager for AstraZeneca’s Liverpool vaccine research and development in Speke, said: “AstraZeneca welcomes the establishment of the Liverpool City Region Investment Zone focussed on life sciences, which has the potential to attract more businesses to the region’s already thriving medicine development and manufacturing cluster.
“The site has the potential to expand into new technology platforms for vaccines and we look forward to working with the Liverpool City Region to identify opportunities to develop these capabilities in the coming years.”
Liverpool City Region’s investment zone follows the recent announcement of South Yorkshire’s advanced manufacturing zone, which has backing from Boeing.
Six more investment zones are to be announced in England.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Our area is fortunate to play home to world-leading clusters in life science research and innovation, which support thousands of secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities for local people. I am incredibly proud of what our region has achieved in the sector – but this is just a down payment on my future ambitions. I want us to go even further and establish our region at the forefront of UK science and innovation.
“With a potential £310m worth of investment and thousands of local jobs on offer, it is clear that this is an opportunity worth exploring. Yet, throughout this process, I have been clear that any investment in our area must go much further than purely financial incentives. I want to use our status as a force for good, to connect our residents up to secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities, and attract transformational investment into our area.
“To play our part in making that happen, we will be investing 5% of GVA in R&D over the next few years – that is nearly double national targets. Becoming an innovation superpower might sound like a lofty ambition – but I believe that if anywhere has the potential to achieve it, then it’s the Liverpool City Region.”
Learn more about the development scene in Liverpool City Region. Book your Liverpool City Region Development Update ticket.