Enterprise zones are playing a vital role in driving forward the country’s economy, creating thousands of new jobs and paving the way for tens of thousands more, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today (12 November 2014).
The 24 enterprise zones are at the heart of the government’s ambitious long-term economic plan with latest figures showing they have created 12,530 jobs, attracted 434 new businesses and generated over £2 billion worth of private investment since opening for business.
The government-backed sites are providing top-class fiscal incentives and world-class infrastructure, promoting growth across a range of key industries, including the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and renewable industry sectors. They are also providing a significant boost to the UK’s construction industry and wider supply chain.
This business focused approach has encouraged a number of high-profile investors to sign multi-million pound deals with the enterprise zones for the coming years. That means the creation of tens of thousands more jobs, ranging from highly skilled workers to apprentices. They include:
A £1 billion deal announced with Advanced Business Park, a Chinese developer, to transform Royal Albert Dock into the capital’s next business district, providing 20,000 jobs over 25 years. The ambition is to create a state-of-the-art business port aimed initially at Chinese and Asian business. This is alongside an ambitious redevelopment of nearby Silvertown Quays into homes, restaurants and commercial buildings, creating a further 21,000 jobs.
Airport City Manchester
Chinese investors signed a £650 million deal to create a new globally connected business destination at Manchester airport, creating 16,000 jobs over 12 years; followed by logistics giants DHL announcing plans for their new £100 million international logistics hub.
Siemens are building 2 factories as part of a massive offshore renewable energy development. Together with Associated British Ports they will invest £290 million, creating 1,000 jobs and an additional 300 jobs for construction. The development is expected to also create hundreds of jobs through the local supply chain.
A £180 million deal with Veolia to build and operate a recycling and energy recovery facility at Newmarket Lane. When complete, the plant will be Europe’s largest timber-framed structure.
A multi-million investment by US company Air Products to build two new energy from waste plants. This will create more than 1,500 construction jobs wile helping stimulate the local economy.
The enterprise zone is home to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, a pioneering research and development collaboration between the University of Sheffield and aircraft giants Boeing, which is helping train the next generation of engineers. The state-of-the-art centre opened in January and is training 150 apprentices every year.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
Enterprise zones are proving that our long-term economic plan is on track, creating thousands of jobs, attracting billions of pounds of investment and proving Britain is a great place to do business.
This is just the start. We have worked hard over the past few years turning shovel-ready sites into job-ready sites. That work is now done and we are seeing more and more investors sign deals that will create tens of thousands more jobs over the coming years. That’s great news for local communities and great news for the economy.
The government opened the zones in April 2012 as part of a 25-year project to rebalance the economy, offering tax incentives, simplified planning and super fast broadband to companies.
That vision has provided a major boost to the UK construction sector with work already carried out to redevelop 85 hectares of land and deliver more than 47,000 square metres of new or refurbished floor space.
This has included a number of speculative builds by investors keen to take advantage of the growing confidence in the Enterprise Zone programme, such as the landmark 2 Glass Wharf at Bristol Temple Quarter, which has recently announced its first tenant – accounting giants PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Benefits of enterprise zones
Firms can claim up to 100% business rates relief (worth up to £275,000) over a 5-year period. In some enterprise zones there are also sites available where you can claim Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in plant and machinery. Within Enterprise zones, 100% of business rates paid are retained locally, creating funding for local infrastructure and other needs.
The Chancellor announced at Budget 2014 that the deadlines for accessing business rate discounts and enhanced capital allowances on enterprise zones would be extended by 3 years. This means that businesses have until March 2018 to locate onto an enterprise zone to be able to access business rate discounts, which could be worth £275,000 per business over 5 years. On sites where enhanced capital allowances are available, businesses now have until March 2020 to make a qualifying investment, and can then write off up to £100 million against corporation tax.
An on-site customer base
Many of the enterprise zones are encouraging businesses in the same sector to cluster together, for mutual benefit. Some focus on automotive - others on energy or pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Major businesses are specifically choosing enterprise zones that can provide them with the goods and services they need.
A straightforward planning process
Enterprise zones have a can-do attitude to planning through the use of simplified planning procedures - for example, local development orders grant automatic planning permission for specified types of development.
Enterprise zones are developed with business in mind - this means they benefit from features like superfast broadband and easy access to motorways, rail, airports or ports.