Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone takes huge step forward with approval of investment plan
Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone – which is forecast to create 40,000
jobs over the next 25 years – has moved forward after an investment plan worth over
£125m to kick-start the development was approved by the Board of the Greater
Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
This first phase of activity includes an investment of over £60m into infrastructure in the Westside part of the City to help unlock developments such as Paradise Circus, £25m for the extension of the Metro from New Street to Centenary Square and £40m to support site development and business growth activity.
This support includes investment in digital connectivity worth £500,000, a business development package worth £3.5m and £1.5m towards skills and training, enhancing the level of funding already available for initiatives in these areas.
The Enterprise Zone was approved by Government to provide specific areas where a combination of financial incentives, reduced planning restrictions and other support is used to encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs, while contributing to the growth of local and national economies.
The first phase of activity aims to accelerate growth in the City Centre where new employment-creating business activity can take place and where a framework for growth is already established in the form of the Big City Plan – the blueprint for investors which shows how the city will be transformed over the next 20 years.
Birmingham’s unique approach to an Enterprise Zone comprises 26 sites across the city centre, covering 68 hectares, in seven clusters focused on the business and financial services, ICT, creative industries and digital media sectors.
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Birmingham City Council, the accountable body, have been working since the announcement of the Enterprise Zone in July 2011 on the framework to deliver the proposals.
Because Government allows LEPs to retain any business rates growth within the zone for a period of at least 25 years, it is then possible to use this revenue to unlock the growth potential in the EZ and support delivery of the LEP’s objectives for the region.
Andy Street, Chairman of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The Enterprise Zone provides us with an unrivalled opportunity to drive regeneration and create new and additional jobs which would otherwise simply not happen.
“The headline figures are impressive and emphasise why it is vital we get this right.
“Not only will we create a further 40,000 jobs, add £2 billion a year to the value of the economy and make available 1.3m sq metres of floorspace over the lifetime of the EZ, but ultimately we will deliver our ambition of becoming a truly world-class city region.
“The plan for the first phase of investment which we have just agreed will support the redevelopment of Paradise Circus which will help us to unlock the full potential of the Zone.
“The progress that has been made has been impressive and the Enterprise Zone has already been ranked as one of the top 50 global free zones by fDi Magazine, the international guide for inward investors, which shows the regard in which investors see our site.
“Birmingham City Council, in agreeing to be the accountable body for the Enterprise Zone and in providing the funding to enable this first phase of this investment to go ahead deserve major credit for their commitment to the wider LEP agenda.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“The approval of the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan by the LEP represents a significant milestone in the delivery of this exciting initiative.
“The Investment Plan sets out the first phase of investment into the Zone to support improved infrastructure and unlock key sites such as Paradise Circus.
“The investments, totaling just over £125m, will be funded through the uplift in business rates generated by the zone and will help deliver 600,000 sq metres of floorspace and 20,000 jobs. This represents over half the outputs of the zone.
“The success of the Enterprise Zone will be crucial in the achievement of both the LEP and City's objectives; strengthening the region’s economy, drawing in private sector investment and stimulating job creation."
For further information, please visit www.gbslep.com
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