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Midland enterprise zones celebrate £1 billion job creation success

Midland enterprise zones celebrate £1 billion job creation success

🕔28.Aug 2015

Enterprise Zones in the Midlands are creating more jobs than anywhere else in the country.

The latest Government figures show that business rates relief and capital investment deals have pulled in private sector investment of £1 billion since 2012 and benefitted 85 companies.

Job creation in the Midland enterprise zones – Birmingham, Black Country, Hereford, MIRA, Northampton and Nottingham – is running at twice the rate of London and the south-east.

In the three year period, 6,501 jobs have been created at Midland enterprise zones.

By comparison, 5,125 jobs were created in the north of England, 3,670 in London and the south-east, 2,663 in the south-west and 990 in the east of England.

Birmingham boasts one of the largest enterprise zones, comprising of 26 sites across the city centre, in seven clusters identified by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership as offering significant growth opportunities. The site includes valuable development land in Eastside and Digbeth around the planned HS2 station.

Focusing on key sectoral strengths, including professional and financial services, digital media, ICT and the creative industries, the EZ provides opportunities for 700,000 sq.m of new office floor space and 600,000 sq.m of new leisure, recreation and commercial floor space.

It has the potential to create 40,000 new jobs, add £2 billion a year to the economy and make available 1.3 million sq metres of floorspace over the 25 year lifetime of the project, according to GBSLEP.

Enterprise zones have attracted more than 19,000 jobs across the country since opening for business and are now home to 540 firms. More than 2,000 trainees and apprentices are benefiting from the zones, tackling local skills gaps, the Government said.

The 24 zones report that they have attracted £2.2 billion of private investment and more than 500 new businesses across a range of key industries including the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and renewable energy industry sectors.

Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:

We are seeing enterprise zones across the country create thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment, boosting the local and national economy. This is testament to the hard work of local people making the most of opportunities the zones bring for attracting firms.

Having 19,000 new jobs on zones is a significant milestone and one which we will continue to build as part of the government’s long-term economic plan to rebalance the economy.

Britain is a great place to do business and there is much untapped potential local areas can build on, to make the most of their unique benefits, which is why more areas and businesses will be able to benefit from the support in a new wave of zones.

The government launched enterprise zones in April 2012 as part of the “long-term economic plan” to rebalance the economy. The Chancellor announced the further expansion of the programme as part of his summer Budget and asked LEPs to put forward proposals for new zones.

Businesses basing themselves on enterprise zones can access a number of benefits including:

  • Up to 100 per cent business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a 5-year period
  • 100 per cent enhanced capital allowances to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery on zones in assisted areas
  • 100 per cent retention of business rate growth for  LEPs , to enable them to fund development on enterprise zones

Local growth minister Penny Mordaunt said apprentices and students were being helped to plug skills gaps and were learning valuable trades with the support of world-class training facilities on enterprise zones.

More than £65 million has been committed to new state-of-the-art campuses and colleges since the industry hubs opened for business, providing training places for more than 2,000 people this year alone.

The campuses include a new £11 million training centre at the MIRA Technology Park near Nuneaton in north Warwickshire, which will open next year. The centre is the result of a partnership between the enterprise zones the Universities of Loughborough and Leicester and North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. The facility will train up to 500 apprentices in its first three years while providing additional training for up to 2,000 more people.

Ms Mordaunt said the training centres had been launched in consultation with local businesses, meaning that training is tailored to teach the high-demand skills that will help them grow and remain competitive while providing hard-working people with the experience they need to carve out successful careers.

Enterprise Zones have created “vibrant business hubs” where companies can share ideas, technology and infrastructure to drive forward growth across a range of key sectors, including aerospace, manufacturing and the energy industry, Ms Mordaunt said.

Global giants like Rolls Royce and BAE Systems are backing the training centres alongside leading local firms.

Ms Mordaunt added:

These new colleges and training centres are at the heart of that vision and are helping plug skills gaps across a range of key sectors. That’s great news for the economy as it means the UK will have the skills needed to compete on a global stage for years to come. It really does show how Enterprise Zones are central to our long-term economic plan.

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