Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield have been named as the locations of the new Enterprise Zones, while Government has released a report on progress made in implementing the Plan for Growth reforms.
The zones were selected by the relevant local enterprise partnerships, and are designed to accelerate local economic growth. The Government has estimated that up to 24,000 jobs could be created in the four new Enterprise Zones.
Benefits for businesses located in the Enterprise Zones include superfast broadband, discounts on business rates, lower levels of planning control and the potential to use enhanced capital allowances.
The introduction of the Enterprise Zones is one of over 100 major reforms which the Government hopes will create favourable conditions for small businesses to flourish. The creation of these four Enterprise Zones precedes the creation of another ten across the country.
Government has made progress in introducing these reforms by introducing a new National Planning Policy Framework that will streamline 1,000 pages to just 52, and also reducing corporation tax to 26% this year, and 23% by 2014. The Red Tape Challenge has also provided the retail sector with relief from regulation – Vince Cable today announced plans to scrap or simplify over 160 out of 257 regulations in the sector.
Prime Minister David Cameron commented on the new Enterprise Zones: “It won’t be Ministers in Whitehall who can drive [growth in the Enterprise Zones]; it will be those with the great business idea who are ready to start up, the entrepreneurs who want to grow their company, the businesses looking to expand into new markets.”
Chancellor George Osborne said: “We have already made significant progress on regulation and planning, publishing a new National Planning Policy Framework and slashing burdensome regulation. The confirmation of the location of four new Enterprise Zones is just one important step that we are taking to boost growth across the country.”