This briefing paper, authored by Conservative MPs Bim Afolami and Laura Trott sets out the case for new "Accelerator Zones" to be established across the UK, designed to drive innovation and growth in university towns and cities.
Policymakers have long sought out how to increase levels of local economic growth, productivity and innovation diffusion. This proposal puts forward a place-based approach, drawing on Cambridge as a blueprint for success, with new Accelerator Zones designated throughout the UK, bringing together universities, businesses and local government. It builds on the Government’s City Deals and Enterprise (and University Enterprise) Zones, as well as the Northern Powerhouse and Freeports.
Policy components of Accelerator Zones
- More freedom on people and planning – there would be no cap on the number of skilled migrants coming into an Accelerator Zone under the new “Global Talent” visa, alongside simplified planning laws to allow for new real estate and businesses.
- Tax incentives – investors would pay no capital gains tax on investments held for no less than seven years in an Accelerator Zone.
- Innovation networks – a new Centre for Science and Policy would be established in every Accelerator Zone, tasked with facilitating the exchange of ideas and knowledge between universities, businesses and local government.