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What will 'low-regulation investment zones' really mean for places like Wolverhampton?

Politicians from all parties agree that Britain's economy needs to grow – and quickly.

The prospect of Wolverhampton becoming a low-regulation investment zone poses a lot of questions at this stage.
The prospect of Wolverhampton becoming a low-regulation investment zone poses a lot of questions at this stage.

But there are wildly differing views on how to achieve what is undoubtedly a daunting goal, particularly during a period of great uncertainty across the world.

The war in Ukraine, coming hot on the heels of the Covid pandemic, has put everyone on the back foot, leaving even traditional economic powerhouses such as the US and Japan teetering on the brink of recession.

Now Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to announce her administration's first key measure aimed at unlocking Britain's post-Brexit economic potential.

The PM believes low regulation investment zones – which she first touted during the Tory leadership campaign – will spark massive levels of investment in areas that have previously missed out.

Wolverhampton is expected to be one such place, with the city understood to be considered an ideal spot having already been highlighted as a trailblazer for the Government's levelling up policy.

The benefits could include low taxes for businesses and residents, and a relaxation of planning laws so developers can build faster.

What this will mean for the city in practice remains to be seen.

Slashing personal taxes would make Wolverhampton a more attractive place to live, but how would it cope in the short-term with a population explosion?

Low businesses taxes will attract new firms to the city, but will existing small businesses benefit as well as the likely influx of global giants?

And while employment opportunities would increase, how many skilled, well-paid jobs will this involve? Meanwhile a bonfire of planning regulations would certainly raise serious concerns among those with a keen eye on the green belt.

On top of this, council leaders in neighbouring areas such as Walsall, Dudley and South Staffordshire will quite understandably be asking 'what's in it for us?'

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