GBSLEP Blog – Andy Street (March 2013)
With the international property event MIPIM getting underway in Cannes today (March 13 2013) GBSLEP Chair Andy Street looks at the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone, which is being showcased as part of the Birmingham delegation at the event.
Last month, in front of an audience of more than 200 property and investment professionals at Birmingham Town Hall, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, launched the prospectus for the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone.
This journey started in the Chancellor’s April 2011 budget in which he announced a series of Enterprise Zones would be set up across the country using an innovative public and private sector model to drive development and create jobs.
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership reached a consensus that our submission to Government should be based on the city centre, building on existing opportunities and strengths.
Crucially, however, the intention from the start was for the benefits of the Enterprise Zone to be felt far beyond the city centre, with the retained uplift in business rates able to support projects right across the LEP area.
During his speech at the Town Hall, the Chancellor praised the way Greater Birmingham had met the challenge Government had laid down and, I am delighted to say, the business community has been positive in its response.
We are the first to acknowledge that it is not the GBSLEP or Birmingham City Council that will make the Enterprise Zone work.
Certainly, the frameworks have to be put in place and the GBSLEP and our partners such as Business Birmingham have a part to play in showcasing these opportunities to the world.
But the Enterprise Zone depends on investment which means selling the opportunities we have at events like MIPIM is crucial to gaining the international exposure we need.
All of the partners who are coming together to showcase Greater Birmingham recognise we are in a global investment race with cities across Europe.
Last year we enjoyed a 37% increase in inward investment against a backdrop of a slight drop – this is the momentum we need to continue and the Enterprise Zone can, we believe, give us a competitive edge.