Chancellor launches Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone
Plans that will give the Greater Birmingham economy a £2.8 billion annual boost, create 40,000 new jobs and consolidate the city as a global centre for inward investment have been announced today (Friday).
Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honorable George Osborne MP attended the launch where the 26 development opportunities that make up the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone were unveiled.
The Enterprise Zone is being led by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and will use powers agreed by Government to generate income which will drive development across the city region.
Among the sites already progressing within the Enterprise Zone are the £450 million transformation of Paradise Circus by developers Argent and the relocation of the historic Assay Office to the £160 million Kettleworks development in the Jewellery Quarter.
Launching the prospectus before an audience of more than 200 property and investment professionals at Birmingham Town Hall, George Osborne hailed the impact the Enterprise Zone will have.
He said: “This Government understands that to drive economic growth, we need to put power in the hands of local businesses and local organisations who know best what their city needs.
“Birmingham is rightly proud of its industrial past. But we have an opportunity to make Birmingham a driving force in our industrial future.
“Today is an important step in making that happen.”
Companies locating within the EZ before 2015 will receive a package of support including business rates relief worth up to £250,000 over five years and simplified planning.
By borrowing against this income, Birmingham has raised the first £125 million towards a programme of investment that is already helping to transform its infrastructure, develop new commercial and office space, boost skills and training, and enhance digital connections.
Andy Street, Chair of the GBSLEP, said: “We believe the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone is the most ambitious in the country and represents a transformational opportunity for the economy of Greater Birmingham.
“Not only is the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone crucial to the delivery of the job and growth targets set by the LEP, but it will also be used to pump prime growth across the LEP area.
“Because we are allowed to retain uplift in business rates, the GBSLEP will be able to drive further investment in infrastructure, business support, employment and skills and access to finance, not just within the city centre but in the districts that make up the LEP.
“It is the private sector that will ultimately make this scheme a success and we hope that those who attended the launch today spread the word about the huge opportunities that the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone presents.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone is the next stage in the development of the city centre as showcased in the Big City Plan.
“By opening up these development opportunities and showcasing them to the world, we are making it clear that the Enterprise Zone in Birmingham is the place to do business, invest and create jobs.
“The Enterprise Zone is building on Birmingham’s successful track record for attracting investment, last year the city attracted a 37% increase in inward investment projects.”
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