CHESHIRE West and Chester could host one of the Government’s new low tax ‘investment zones’, the Chancellor announced today.

But Kwasi Kwarteng’s wider set of announcements regarding tax cuts intended to stimulate economic growth have been blasted by the council’s leader.

In what has been branded a ‘mini budget’, earlier today he announced cuts of £12bn in corporation tax, £17bn in National Insurance, £5bn basic rate income tax cut and a £2bn cut to the 45p rate.

Other measures also included scrapping planned increases in the tax paid on beer, wine, spirits and cider.

He also announced the creation of 38 investment zones which would have lower taxes and more liberal planning regulations.

They include:

  • Time-limited tax incentives for businesses.
  • Zero-rate employer national insurance contributions on salaries of any new employee working in the site for at least 60 per cent of their time, on earnings up to £50,270 per year.
  • Business rates relief of 100 per cent on newly occupied business premises, and certain existing businesses. Councils hosting investment zones will receive 100 per cent of the business rates growth above an agreed baseline for 25 years.
  • Full Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for land and buildings bought for use or development for commercial purposes, and for purchases of land or buildings for new residential development.

The Ellesmere Port Industrial Area in Cheshire West and Chester has been targeted for one of the zones, with discussions ongoing between the council and the government.

But responding to the wider mini budget, Cllr Louise Gittins (Labour), leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "From the Tory support for fracking or their obsession with discredited trickle-down economics, it's clear that the only plan the Tories have in the mini-budget is for working people to pick up the bill in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis."

She added: “After 12 years of Tory Government choices, the only things going up are inflation, interest rates and banker bonuses. The people of Cheshire West need a Labour Government that stands with working people, instead of a Tory Government that stands with energy companies and the super-rich."

Cllr Margaret Parker, leader of the Conservative group, said they welcomed many of the measures set out in the Chancellor’s statement.

She said: “For too long growth in our economy has not been as high as it needs to be and that has an impact on the prosperity of all residents and businesses, making it harder to pay for public services and requiring taxes to rise.”

She said reforms were needed to ‘help ‘grow the economy’, deliver higher wages, lower taxes and more money for public services.

In relation to the proposed investment zone, she added: “This could potentially have a massive and beneficial impact on this borough to further realise its potential. It will be essential for the political leadership of the council to demonstrate it has the positivity and vision to seize this opportunity to deliver for our area.

“Often they’ve failed to do so and let our residents down – now they really must grasp this with both hands!”