Over 400m boost for business and local economies


A £415 million cash injection to back business, boost high streets, create jobs and help local economies thrive was announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today, as part of the Government’s long term economic plan.

The announcement comprises:

• £300 million to give 300,000 small retail firms £1000 off their next tax bill;
• £100 million to support critical business infrastructure in Enterprise Zones, including more than £8.5 million for Leeds’ Enterprise Zone;
• £15 million to establish new University Enterprise Zones in the eight main UK cities, including Leeds and Sheffield.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“As part of our long term economic plan, we are backing business and enterprise right across the country, helping town centres and local industries to prosper, and building a stronger economy.

“This money for infrastructure will transform acres of Enterprise Zone land and build a stronger, more competitive business environment that will create up to 3000 jobs for hardworking people across the country.

“While our fully funded £1000 retail discount will make a huge difference to 300,000 of the essential small shops and local traders we find in our town centres across the country.”

Enterprise Zones – infrastructure boost to create up to 3000 jobs for key industries by 2015

Twelve Enterprise Zone bids have been shortlisted to complete critical ‘nuts and bolts’ infrastructure that will turn dormant sites into prime economic land, attracting new businesses and jobs to Harlow, Humber, Leeds, Sheffield, Discovery Park in Kent, Oxford, Daresbury, Alconbury, London’s Royal Docks, the Black Country, Nottingham and the Solent.

In Leeds, the Aire Valley Enterprise Zone is set to receive up to £8.57 million for remediation and infrastructure work that will attract advanced manufacturing and supply chain companies, creating 630 new jobs and delivering over 33,000sqm of new commercial floorspace in the long term.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) commented:

“We’re delighted to have secured this significant capital grant, which will enable us to take an important step forward in unlocking the potential of the Aire Valley Leeds enterprise zone to create thousands of jobs over the next decade, leverage millions of pounds of additional private investment and provide a focus for inward investment and employment creation across the City Region.

“This is another example of central government placing meaningful investment in local hands to boost the region’s diverse economy and help us play our full role in driving national growth.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for development and economy added:

“Today’s announcement is tremendous news. The Council has taken the lead in working proactively with private sector developers and Government to build momentum, accelerate development within the enterprise zone and drive economic growth.

“The funding will lever in up to £30m additional private sector investment, helping to deliver more than 630 jobs and create high quality industrial premises for modern manufacturing and supply chain businesses in Leeds and the wider city region.”

Covering 142 hectares of prime development land, the Aire Valley Enterprise Zone offers the largest opportunity for employment growth within the Leeds City Region, and one of the prime opportunities in the north of England. Fully developed, it has the potential to generate up to 9,500 new jobs by 2025.

A new recycling and energy recovery facility is already under construction. Operational by spring 2016, the 15,330 square metre facility will have the capacity to process up to 214,000 tons of waste a year and generate around 11MW of electricity, enough to power 20,000 homes.

Across the country, the funding for road building, refurbishment, utility supply and land clearance will mean that 3.5 million square metres of land is brought back into use and 124,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace will be created by 2015. In addition 10km of new road and two new bridges will be constructed, reducing congestion for residents and increasing the access to new Enterprise Zone sites for business.

Enterprise Zones have already attracted 250 businesses, secured £1.1 billion of private sector investment and created over 7000 local jobs.

In addition from today universities in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield can bid for part of a £15 million fund to establish University Enterprise Zones. This will strengthen the role of higher education in supporting local growth and innovation.

The funding will also lead to the development of new business spaces within universities. These spaces will host a range of start up, high-tech companies, that can benefit best from universities’ expert knowledge.