Britain outlines tax incentives for new investment zones

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Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng to deliver mini-budget

LONDON (Reuters) -British finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng outlined what he called an "unprecedented set of tax incentives" for businesses in newly-announced investment zones, saying the government would also liberalise planning rules for specified agreed sites.

The government said there were potential investment zones in England so far but it would work with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver them around the United Kingdom.

"On purchases of land and buildings for commercial or new residential development, there will be no stamp duty to pay whatsoever," Kwarteng told lawmakers in a fiscal statement on Friday.

"On newly-occupied business premises, there will be no business rates to pay whatsoever. And if a business hires a new employee in the tax site, then on the first 50,000 pounds ($55,800) they earn, the employer will pay no National Insurance whatsoever."

The government said more detail on how a liberalised planning offer in the zones would work in due course.

Areas interested in becoming investment zones include Liverpool and Greater Manchester in northwest England, Somerset and Plymouth in the southwest, Sunderland and the Tees Valley in the northeast and Southampton and Essex in the south and east.

The government also said infrastructure projects would be accelerated, aiming to get as many as possible under construction by the start of 2023.

The list of projects to be accelerated included nuclear energy sites Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, oil fields search as Cambo Phase 1, and several train lines, stations and roads. ($1 = 0.8961 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken and Alistair Smout, editing by Elizabeth Piper)