Over £400 Million Boost For Business And Local Economies


The government’s long-term economic plan is targeting high streets and local industries


Published on 29 January 2014

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by The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

(WireNews+Co)

London, England

Enterprise Zones
Enterprise Zones

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 (29 January 2014), 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
  • £15 million to establish new university enterprise zones in the 8 main UK cities

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.

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 10 kilometres of new road and 2 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.

High Streets: 300,000 retail businesses get £1000 taken off tax bill in weeks

In a further measure to back business, 300,000 retail businesses are eligible for a new special retail discount, worth £1000.

New guidance for local authorities published today spells out which high street businesses will be entitled to the new discount.

Retail premises are eligible for a £1,000 discount in 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016. These businesses must also be occupied and have a rateable value, used to calculate bills of £50,000 or below.

Councils should now automatically include the discount in the business rate bills they are sending out shortly so all eligible businesses receive their centrally funded tax break. Business specifically excluded include payday lenders, betting shops and pawn brokers.

This discount can be used on top of other measures announced by the Chancellor, that will come into effect in April, to reduce the tax burden on small business. The measures amount to the biggest package of support in over 20 years.

£1 billion high street support package was unveiled in December 2013 to support British business. This included:

  • capping the annual Retail Price Index (RPI) increase in bills at 2% in 2014 to 2015 - businesses were expecting a 3.2% rise
  • extending the doubling of the small business rates relief to April 2015
  • small business rate relief has also been extended to include small firms taking on an additional second property (for up to a year), helping an estimated 3,000 businesses expand
  • a reoccupation discount of 50% off business rates bill for 18 months for new occupants of retail premises previously empty for a year or more
  • allowing businesses to pay their bills over 12 months, rather than 10, to help every firm with their monthly cash flow
 

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Posted 2014-01-29 14:20:00