Pickles launches £59m enterprise zone fund
A £59m government fund has been launched to help enterprise zones complete key infrastructure projects required to accelerate growth.
Enterprise zones in England will be able to apply for a share of the cash in order to complete developments and unlock sites for business use, communities secretary Eric Pickles announced.
Pickles said projects developing links to local road networks, reconfiguring site layouts or installing utilities could be among those awarded funds from the £59m pot.
Comprised of 124 sites across the country, the 24 enterprise zones have created around 1,700 jobs and attracted £155m in private sector investment since opening last April.
Designed to stimulate economic growth, zones look to attract businesses through tax incentives, simplified planning and super fast broadband.
Pickles said: ‘Economic growth is this Government’s biggest priority and enterprise zones are the engine room of that strategy. This new £59m fund will turbo charge that engine by turning shovel ready sites into job ready sites.
‘Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) can do more to make zones realise their potential sooner. The Government is determined to work flat out with partnerships to clear any roadblocks in their zone’s path so they can forge ahead and deliver the jobs the country’s economy needs.’
Welcoming the Government’s announcement, chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, James Newman, said: ‘We want to make it as straight-forward as possible for businesses to move onto our zone and we hope that this fund will make it easier for us to do that. We also hope that the process for applying to the fund will be as hassle-free as possible and that funds will be made available quickly.’
Chair of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, Grahame Nix, said: ‘The LEP will be working with partners to submit a bid in due course. This funding will help ensure we continue to make excellent progress in developing the site and attracting businesses to Alconbury.’
Quick enough to rubbish the RDA's but the LEP's have done little. ?150M in nearly 12 months is pathetic.Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Monday, 25 February 2013 04:47 PM
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