What is an Enterprise Zone

CHANCELLOR George Osborne used his Budget speech in March to announce that 21 new enterprise zones (EZ) were being set up in local enterprise partnership areas in England.

The first 11 were revealed and the Tees Valley was one of them.

But what is an enterprise zone and what are the likely benefits for Hartlepool?

An EZ will be between 50 hectares and 150 hectares in size.

They will be based on sites where new businesses and new jobs can be created.

They will benefit from a range of benefits including;

l Business rate discounts over a five year period;

l All business rates growth within the zone for a period of at least 25 years will be retained by the local area, to support the partnership’s economic priorities and ensure that enterprise zone growth is reinvested locally;

l Government help to develop radically simplified planning approaches for the zone.

l Government support to ensure that superfast broadband is rolled out throughout the zone.

There could also be other benefits such as enhanced capital allowances for plant and machinery, in a limited number of cases and subject to State Aid, where there is a strong focus on manufacturing; Tax Increment Finance to support the long-term viability of the area; and support from UK Trade and Industry for inward investment or trade opportunities in the zone.

Numerous sites across the whole of the Tees Valley are being considered for inclusion in the enterprise zone and each of them is being subjected to a detailed and technical analysis.

They have to be examined to make sure they are suitable based on key criteria such as deliverability, the potential for private sector investment and job creation.

Just as importantly, they also have to bring benefits to the wider Tees Valley economy.