£100M Boost for Enterprise Zones

The Government plan for a £100M stimulus package to increase development in twenty-four Enterprise Zone areas has been welcomed by the British Property Federation (BPF).

The Enterprise Zone Capital Grant Fund will target rapidly-deliverable projects in order to jump start UK growth and investment.

Enterprise Zones were established in 2011 to aid primarily deprived businesses and urban areas to prosper from improved superfast broadband, transportation networks, straightforward planning processes and business rates reliefs. Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles has outlined that within the 18 months of Enterprise Zones being set up, they have encouraged more than £1B private sector and government investment, building 180 new businesses as a direct consequence. The government in 2011 vowed that Enterprise Zones, by 2015, would have created more than 30,000 new jobs. The additional funds will create road building and land clearance projects; this will open up and enable vacant areas to become crucial economic sites.

The twenty-four sites across the UK which will therefore gain from this cash inducement will prosper greatly with the creation of new businesses and thousands of new jobs. As a direct result this capital will positively benefit the UK market, as a catalyst for job opportunities and business growth. Pickles believes that the enhancement of the Enterprise Scheme will ‘give the UK that competitive edge’. The £100M incentive to accelerate Enterprise Zones could launch UK business projects off the ground and thus help to further stimulate the market. The government’s injection of capital will further reduce blockades to Enterprise Zone development, in particular targeting market failures which have halted development at certain Enterprise Zone locations.

This news excites great anticipation, especially as Enterprise Zones in the 1980s eventually resulted in the construction of Canary Wharf. With this knowledge the prospects for Enterprise Zones succeeding in 2014 looks promising. This is evident with current zones, such as Tees Valley Zone, which has already secured 11 investments from large and small companies, enabling over 220 jobs and £420M of capital expenditure. Furthermore the North East Enterprise Zone is rapidly emerging as the hub of wind turbine, low carbon and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The decisive venture reinforces the Prime Minister’s oath to back businesses and maintain Britain’s competitive position within a world market. Enterprise Zones have already assisted in placing the UK back into the spotlight with foreign businesses and investors alike. This is evident with LICenergy, a leading Danish marine and offshore engineering company, locating to the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and 10 Chinese businesses who have committed to office space in the much anticipated £1B Asian Business Port development in London’s Royal Albert Dock Enterprise Zone. The Government, which is investing a total of £700M into the Enterprise Zone scheme, will be giving priority to bids for zones that are likely to deliver rapid results. The Enterprise Zones over the UK have a deadline and a shortlist of successful bids is likely to be released before January 2014.