West Yorkshire life sciences Investment Zone launched

Jeremy Hunt

The UK government has launched England’s third Investment Zone in West Yorkshire focussed on Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds, which it said will help to create more than 2,500 new jobs across the region over the next five years and could unlock £220 million in investment.

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also confirmed the Investment Zones programme in England will be extended from five to 10 years, with government funding and tax reliefs on offer now doubled to £160 million.

The announcements are part of wider plans expected in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement this week where he will reveal reforms to reignite growth by unlocking more private investment and getting people back into work.

West Yorkshire will host one of 12 Investment Zones across the UK. It is based around the region’s universities in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield and the cluster of life sciences businesses in the area.

This includes health tech company Paxman Scalp Cooling which supports patients to minimise hair loss during chemotherapy by manufacturing specialist hair caps.

It is investing £5 million to bring its innovative health tech products to global markets and alongside it, the digital healthcare company Dedalus is investing £21 million to deliver digital and diagnostic tools for the NHS.

The UK government said that as a result of the Investment Zone, revamped sites specialising in health tech and digital will open up around West Yorkshire, unlocking over 2,500 jobs and over £220 million of investment across the region over the next five years.

“This can be used flexibly between spending on interventions such as skills, research and development and local infrastructure, dependent on local need, and tax incentives such as 100% Stamp Duty Land Tax relief, an enhanced structures and buildings allowance at a rate of 10% per annum, an enhanced 100% first-year capital allowance, employer National Insurance Contributions relief, and 100% business rates relief,” said the UK Treasury.

“Alongside this, the window to claim Freeport tax reliefs in England will be extended from five to ten years until September 2031, providing greater certainty to businesses looking to invest, delivering growth and jobs, and levelling up the economy.

“The UK Government will work with the Scottish and Welsh governments with the intention of delivering the same extension to Investment Zones and Freeports in Scotland and Wales and will continue to work with stakeholders on how best to support investment in Northern Ireland.”

Hunt said: “We are changing our country for the long term, driving economic growth across all corners of the UK.

“It will mean thousands more jobs in the exciting industries of the future backed up by better infrastructure, and communities to be proud of.”

The Chancellor launched West Yorkshire’s Investment Zone alongside West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin at Paxman Cooling where they met executives and discussed the future growth of the company.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “We know that devolution is working for West Yorkshire and this new investment zone is further recognition of that from the government.

“Home to NHS England, our region’s digital and health tech businesses are driving forward innovation and transforming the lives of patients world-wide.

“This investment is a massive vote of confidence in our top-tier universities and talented graduates and will help our mission to build a stronger, brighter region that works for all.”

The West Yorkshire Life Sciences Investment Zone will benefit from a range of interventions which include skills training and business support to encourage more business investment.

The plan will boost innovation in the area’s thriving healthcare sector and create a talent pipeline at the forefront of technological advances.

Paxman Scalp Cooling CEO Richard Paxma said:  “This news is incredibly exciting for the region and our health tech sector, and will only further attract investment in a sector that changes lives and makes a real impact commercially and socially.

“Paxman has invested significantly in the region over the past 5 years, attracting over £10 million of foreign direct investment. Now, we are more committed than ever before in increasing our presence and investment in Huddersfield – providing further employment growth and delivering additional investment in research and development.”

Daryll Goodall, Managing Director UK and Ireland at Dedalus, said: “We are delighted to be a key part of the West Yorkshire Investment Zone. As a Global Healthcare company, Dedalus work closely with local Universities and Hospital Trusts in the West Yorkshire area to help bring new products from Europe to the UK healthcare market, and using our team in Leeds we develop products specifically for the UK.

“We are excited about the future, having the opportunity to implement our ORBIS electronic patient record (EPR) in the UK, and continuing to develop local healthcare applications like OneResponse, a mobile EPR for ambulance services in the UK, and PatientAide, a mobile app for clinicians providing them with access to key services and patient information.”

John Naybour, CEO of Eventum Orthopaedics, said: “With £4.5m raised so far, including investment from the Northern Powerhouse, Eventum is celebrating the successful launch of Quadsense, a groundbreaking product developed with invaluable support from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford.

“Recognized as the new frontier in total knee surgery at the American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeons, Quadsense has attracted huge interest in the global orthopaedic community, and has set the benchmark for our second innovative product which we are developing in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University.”

Businesses set to benefit from the investment zone include health tech companies like Eventum Orthopaedics, which works to improves patients’ experience of knee surgeries and is setting up five major orthopaedic hospitals in the UK, as they look to expand to markets in the US and New Zealand.

The government will continue to work with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local authorities to co-develop the plans for their Life Sciences Investment Zone, including agreeing specific interventions to drive long-term growth, ahead of final confirmation of plans.

“With over 600 life sciences companies, 250 MedTech firms and over 90 digital health enterprises, West Yorkshire is a place where ideas come to fruition and innovative products and solutions are tested, embedded and scaled locally and internationally,” said the UK Treasury.

“Building on this strength, the region’s Investment Zone includes four universities 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.

“At Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced eight places in England as eligible to host an Investment Zone. Each was invited to identify an Investment Zone that offered an imaginative partnership between local government and a university or research institute in a way that catalyses emerging innovation clusters.

“Five more Investment Zones are still to be announced in England – ensuring that there are engines for growth and opportunities for talented people across the country.

“Today’s news follows the first Advanced Manufacturing Investment Zone in South Yorkshire, announced in July, which has backing from Boeing and partners with an investment worth over £80 million. Liverpool City Region was also confirmed as being England’s second Investment Zone, focussed on Life Sciences.

“There will also be two Investment Zones in Scotland, in the Glasgow City Region and the North East of Scotland. Work is ongoing between Scottish Government and the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities to commence the development of these Investment Zones in Scotland jointly with local partners.

“The government is also working in partnership with the Welsh Government to deliver the Investment Zone programme in Wales and will continue to work with stakeholders on how best to deliver the benefits in Northern Ireland.”