South Yorkshire Investment Zone To Create Thousands Of New Jobs

19th July 2023

South Yorkshire Leaders and the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have announced the first Investment Zone in the UK. It’s expected to create 8,000 new jobs for South Yorkshire and bring in £1.2bn worth of private investment by 2030.

  • South Yorkshire to become UK’s first Investment Zone, creating an expected 8,000 new jobs and bringing £1.2bn of private investment by 2030.
  • £80m Government investment will help region ‘build on strengths’ to boost UK economy and make South Yorkshire the best place to start, scale or relocate a business.
  • First investment is more than £80m new Boeing-led sustainable aviation research project

South Yorkshire Leaders and the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have announced the first Investment Zone in the UK. It’s expected to create 8,000 new jobs for South Yorkshire and bring in £1.2bn worth of private investment by 2030.

Using government support worth £80m, the new Investment Zone will use the region’s success in advanced manufacturing and will help make South Yorkshire the best place to start, scale or relocate businesses from around the world, boosting the UK economy.

The first investment announced is a more than £80m Boeing-led research project into manufacturing lightweight structures for aeroplanes – a key part of making aviation more sustainable.

Compass (Composites at Speed and Scale) will be built as an extension to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Factory 2050. It will be built with support from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Sheffield City Council and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said:

“Our Investment Zone will help put South Yorkshire back where we belong; at the forefront of this country’s manufacturing-led growth.

“Technology created in South Yorkshire built the modern world. Because in South Yorkshire we have always known how to deliver practical solutions to big challenges. Yesterday it was stainless steel and our coal industry, today it is AI, Robotics and creating lighter, stronger materials for Jet Zero.

“That’s why this new Investment Zone status is so important. Because with the support of partners like Boeing, and working with the government, we’re showing we have the tools, the technology and the confidence to build on our strengths as not just the world’s first, but the world’s best Advanced Manufacturing District.”

The Investment Zone – the first of 12 new zones built around universities and high-growth industries – will build on the success of South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), expanding it to incorporate Rotherham town centre and Sheffield city centre, with Opportunity Sites across Barnsley and Doncaster.

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council Leader, Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton CBE said:

“Although the focus of the project covers Rotherham and Sheffield, the Investment Zone will bring strong benefits to the whole of South Yorkshire. The wider programme will provide us with new opportunities for growth and development in our borough. It will enable us to attract new businesses, provide scale up support to those already here, and create new jobs, which will bolster our local economy through opportunity sites at J36, J37 and in Goldthorpe.

“For The Seam, our digital campus in the town centre, South Yorkshire’s Investment Zone will bolster the already attractive offer for innovative businesses looking to make the most of our pre-existing cluster of digital and tech companies and strengthen the growing reputation for Barnsley as a destination for digital businesses.”

Investors, developers and start-ups will be offered a combination of targeted support and financial interventions to start, scale up and relocate their businesses including:

  • Help with relocating through funding for capital, infrastructure and feasibility work.
  • Help unlocking barriers to planning, with support from dedicated Investment Zone planning officers throughout the process.
  • Skills support schemes to upskill workforces and boost opportunities for graduates whilst tackling issues around economic inactivity.

Supply chain funding to build the capability and competitiveness of suppliers to access regional, national and international growth markets.

South Yorkshire Investment Zone Announcement: FAQs

Q. What is South Yorkshire’s Investment Zone?

A. South Yorkshire’s Investment Zone is a zone within the region, focused on a spatial core between Rotherham and Sheffield, with opportunity sites in Barnsley and Doncaster, that seeks to make South Yorkshire the best place to start, scale or locate a business. South Yorkshire will use £80m of government funding to help make this vision a reality. We estimate this will help leverage more than £1.2bn of private investment and create more than 8000 new jobs by 2030.

Q. What is an Investment Zone?

A. Government announced an intention to work with 12 areas in the UK to co-design proposals for an Investment Zone at the Budget in March this year. The policy is intended to last for five years, from 2024-25, with £80m of funding available to support business growth. Each Investment Zone has to designate a spatial core with research assets.

Q. How long will it last?

A. Funding will last five years from 2024-25. South Yorkshire is the first announced and will begin working with businesses to identify investment opportunities from today onwards.

Q. I am a local business – what does it mean for me?

A. If you plan to start, scale or relocate a business within the South Yorkshire Investment Zone, then get in touch with the team. There is an enquiry form on the website. A member of the team will be in touch with you once that’s filled in. We will ask how we can support you. Our interventions will be based on best practice and bespoke, supporting investment in capital, infrastructure, skills, supply chain diversification, ecosystem development and planning capacity

Q. Does this mean you are going to de-regulate the planning system?

A. No. The Government’s Investment Zone proposal is different from those proposed by the Liz Truss Government. There will be no planning deregulation. We plan to add capacity into the planning system, but this is to speed up the process for businesses; it is not designed to reduce standards in any way.

Q. What impact will the Investment Zone have on SY environment and climate change commitments?

A. The Investment Zone is mission-driven, targeted at: producing clean, green heat, power and flight; tackling ill-health; and, harnessing robotics, AI and frontier technology to create more good jobs and fulfilling careers in South Yorkshire.

Q. What are Opportunity Sites?

A. We understand that business growth is as much about scale-up and innovation as it is about start-up and invention. That is why the South Yorkshire Investment Zone includes ‘Opportunity Sites’ – large, allocated sites for business expansion and supply chain development. There are four in Barnsley and four in Doncaster. On these sites, we plan to take the research from the research centres and turn it into large manufacturing production centres. Hybrid Air Vehicles is an example of the route we plan to take.

Q. What does the Investment Zone mean for DSA?

A. Gateway East is one of the Opportunity Sites, and would stand to benefit from a thriving regional airport. SYMCA is supporting Doncaster Council’s work on a compulsory purchase order of the site following the closure of the airport last year. O

Q. What is the ‘spatial core’?

A. Government specified the need to identify a zone with research assets and economic clusters at the centre of the Investment Zone. The South Yorkshire spatial core runs from Rotherham Town Centre to Sheffield City Centre, including the Advanced Manufacturing Park, the Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield Business Park and University of Sheffield Innovation District.

Q. What are the 8000 jobs?

A. Based on business enquiries already underway and existing development plans, we estimate that at least 8000 new jobs will be created in the Investment Zone by 2030.

Q. How does Boeing benefit from being in the Investment Zone?

A. The region is investing £20m in the Compass Facility at Factory 2050, where Boeing will carry out their research on lightweighting wing-tips. Boeing have also committed to buy in excess of £2bn of manufactured goods from the UK, once the research project is complete.

Q. Do investment zones just displace jobs and investment from other areas?

A. SYMCA is pursuing the use of flexible funding to maximise the impact of the spend and to minimise any adverse effects. Tax sites were an option in the Investment Zone but, given historically high displacement rates, South Yorkshire has chosen not to pursue this option.

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