GBSLEP welcomes chancellor’s confirmation of city centre enterprise zone extension
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visited the region today and confirmed the commitment he made before the election to extend both the geography of GBSLEP’s Birmingham city centre Enterprise Zone (EZ) to cover the whole of the regeneration area around the HS2 city centre terminus station at Curzon, and the duration of the zone.
This announcement will support the GBSLEP to fund a package of targeted local measures to maximise the growth potential around the station, drive regional productivity and in turn the net gain to UK PLC.
Steve Hollis, deputy chairman of the GBSLEP, said: “We very much welcome the Chancellor’s affirmation today to not only extend the geographical area of our city centre EZ but also its duration. This is critically important for our region’s ambitions to maximise opportunities around HS2 and to support the delivery of a £660m investment package in local infrastructure which will optimise growth across the Birmingham Curzon area.
“We are already pioneering the EZ model to stimulate development in the city centre to great effect. The £275m investment plan agreed by the GBSLEP and funded by Birmingham City Council through borrowing against future business rate uplift in the EZ has enabled the commencement of works on the £500m redevelopment of Paradise Circus which will deliver more than 6,000 jobs, the £37.95m extension of the Midland Metro tram system and the £30m city centre public realm improvement programme. The announcement today demonstrates that Government recognises the success of our approach and wants us to use it maximise the benefits of HS2.”
Sir Albert Bore, leader Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a huge deal not only for the city of Birmingham, but for the region as a whole. It shows we have a credible plan to deliver growth and drive job creation. Since its inception the EZ has delivered more than 1000 new jobs and attracted £225.5m of private sector investment. Today’s confirmation from the Chancellor means we can ensure that the EZ will provide a major catalyst enabling us to further boost funding for local infrastructure, attract new jobs and investment and strengthen the economic role of our regional centre.”
Steve Hollis added: “We also welcome the Chancellor’s comments regarding the GBSLEP’s innovative work coaches scheme with the Dept for Work & Pensions, which is the first of its type in the UK. This is due to start in conjunction with local businesses later this month and matches unemployed people with dedicated coaches to train them, develop their skills and in turn help to improve their chances within the jobs market.”
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