Saturday, 18 July 2015 20:27

Council appeal over enterprise zones

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Council appeal over enterprise zones

THE government is urging local councils to come forward with "ambitious plans" for new Enterprise Zones.

Local authorities should work with their Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to identify businesses on their patch with investment or export potential, said the government.

This includes building on the commercial strengths of rural areas, said the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Business and civic leaders should encourage local firms to stand together and form a stronger commercial proposition, it said.

These new zones, if supported by a strong business case, would enable places to drive growth and jobs creation.

Enterprise Zones bring with them a raft of benefits to businesses including lower taxes, access to superfast broadband and streamlined planning permission to boost local infrastructure.

Local growth minister James Wharton said: "Enterprise Zones are creating thousands of jobs, attracting billions of pounds of investment.

"Britain is a great place to do business and this is a chance for local areas to build on their benefits. As part of our long-term economic plan it is only right we allow more to share our national success."

Mr Wharton said more areas and businesses would benefit from the latest round of government funding - but only the "very best" bids would succeed.

"This is a chance for council leaders and businesses to make their case and secure a real boost to the local economy," he said.

Some 24 existing Enterprise Zones had attracted 15,500 jobs around the country since they opened over the past three years.

These zones had delivered a multibillion-pound boost to local economies by last December, said Mr Wharton.

Chancellor George Osborne announced his 8 July Budget that all Local Enterprise Partnerships would have the opportunity to support an Enterprise Zone and all could now bid.

This would allow more places outside of our core cities to have the opportunity for an Enterprise Zone and what it could bring in terms of delivering local growth.

Businesses basing themselves on Enterprise Zones can access a number of benefits, including up to 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over five years.

They are also eligible for 100% enhanced capital allowances (tax relief) to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery on 8 zones in assisted areas.

The government says a further benefit is the 100% retention of business rate growth for LEPs, to enable them to fund development on Enterprise Zones.

The deadline for bids is 18 September 2015. For details, click here

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