2023-01-25 09:00:16

Councils spent 12.5m on bids for Liz Trusss investment zones, data shows

Logo The Guardian
The Guardian
By Aubrey Allegretti

Cash-strapped councils are estimated to have spent 12.5m compiling bids to launch low tax and regulation-lite investment zones that were binned by the government just weeks later, new figures suggest.

Labour, which compiled analysis about the waste suffered by local authorities, hit out at the cost of Tory chaos given the scheme was effectively ditched by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, when he took over after Liz Trusss short-lived premiership.

Initially billed as a major part of Trusss growth agenda, the investment zones announcement saw a rush of interest with 626 submitted from 90 councils across England.

But while many areas jumped at the chance to be granted slimmed down planning rules and have other regulations eased, as well as tax breaks to encourage investment, putting together the documents came at a cost.

Councils had to spend an average of 20,000 to 30,000 in each bid for central government funding, and sometimes lost staff hours while work was done preparing the submissions, according to the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

Continue read on theguardian.com

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