Friday, September 25, 2015

News: Osborne pitches Innovation District to Chinese investors

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has put forward the proposed Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) as the UK bids to attract billions of pounds of investment from China.

On the fourth leg of his tour of China, the Chancellor was speaking in the city of Chengdu where he said there are unprecedented opportunities for Chinese investment into the Northern Powerhouse as the UK and China enter a golden era of economic cooperation.

Twenty key infrastructure and regeneration investment projects from across the North were presented in a "Northern Pitchbook," the first of its kind put together by UKTI's Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) which helps international investors identify and fund regeneration opportunities in the UK.

Recognising that high value manufacturing can be key to driving innovation, productivity and exports, civic leaders have committed to the idea of "supercharging" the areas of advanced manufacturing in the Sheffield-Rotherham Economic Corridor. Based around the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham and surrounding Enterprise Zone, the aim is to develop Europe's largest research-led advanced manufacturing cluster.

A masterplan for the potential Innovation District is being produced that will be used as a bidding document for accessing monies through the Government's Growth Deal and other funding sources. In the latest devolution proposals, the leaders have asked for a £250m commitment to the Sheffield City Region, based around the Innovation District as a national demonstrator for place based innovation programmes with LEPs. It adds that "Government investment will be matched by company investment at 50% and further leveraged through local resources to deliver a £600m science and innovation programme over five years."
The Northern Pitchbook, which ups the project size to over £1 billion, states: "As a key element of the Northern Powerhouse with hundreds of further acres for further expansion, this will be the place for world leading manufacturers to go for research, technology transfer, production and industrial collaboration.

"A range of investment opportunities are available in commercial property development, transport infrastructure, housing and University-led collaboration in research and business development."

Chancellor George Osborne said: "As we continue to work more closely with China, we have an unprecedented opportunity to secure significant investment into some of our most ambitious projects across our Northern Powerhouse."

The leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore, is also on the tour of China and two further city region projects - the New Retail Quarter in Sheffield and the second phase of development of Park Hill - are also being pitched for investment.

Earlier this week, the Scarborough Group announced that it had secured investment from China's Hualing Industry and Trade Group for three Northern projects including the £40m second phase of the Sheffield Digital Campus.

UKTI RIO website

Images: HM Treasury / Interserve

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