Four New Enterprise Zones Named
Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield have been unveiled as the latest Enterprise Zones, under Government measures to boost economic growth.
Start-ups and small firms within the four zones will benefit from reduced business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of regulation and planning control.
A total of 21 zones were announced in last year’s Budget, in line with the coalition Government’s aim to increase business growth and boost private sector jobs across the UK. Regions are selected based on competitive bids from councils and enterprise partnerships.
Zones have already been confirmed in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Derby and Nottingham, the Black Country, Tees Valley, the West of England and the North East. The Government has estimated up to 24,000 jobs could be created by 2015.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) called the creation of Enterprise Zones “a step in the right direction” for UK small firms.
“The concept is critical to reinventing the spirit of enterprise in many parts of the country.”
said David Frost, BCC director general.
“The zones will help boost expanding firms and encourage inward investment.”
Dawn Whiteley, chief executive of the National Enterprise Network, welcomed the expansion of superfast broadband regionally, saying it was essential for small firms to be online, but said the generic benefits of Enterprise Zones for smaller firms “remained unclear”.
“Many of the areas selected are more suitable for attracting big businesses looking for large manufacturing sites and are not necessarily where small firms are located. In Leeds for instance, the zone is not city-wide but only applies to a specific part of the city and this is fairly undeveloped and lacking in facilities. It’s unlikely that small businesses would be based there.”
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that the Government had made “significant progress” in encouraging private sector growth, and Enterprise Zones would further support local business.