Enterprise Zones – how your business could benefit

Communities and local Government secretary Eric Pickles believes that enterprise zones will draw in thousands of new businesses, create jobs, rebalance the economy and speed up UK economic growth; a lot to live up to. With the launch this month of 24 new zones around the UK, what are enterprise zones, and what exactly can businesses stand to gain?

First announced in Budget 2011, enterprise zones are a Government initiative to encourage aspiring new businesses into targeted growth potential areas. Businesses which move into the site can benefit from core incentives including immediate tax breaks, reduced rates and simplified planning permission. It also hopes that the zones will attract foreign investors into the county, putting Britain on a pedestal for worldwide business.

Although the benefits available will differ according to each specific enterprise zone and areas, measures on offer include:

  • A 100 per cent business rate relief worth up to £275,000 offered to businesses for the next five years. Businesses must move into the zone during the course of this Parliament, with the Government meeting all business rates.
  • The Government has promised to keep all business rate growth generated by a zone for a period of at least 25 years will be kept within that area.
  • Although still being finalised, each zone can use locally developed planning permissions known as 'Local Development Orders', with the potential to grant automatic planning permission. Some may allow for faster development in creating new buildings, extensions, roads, telecommunications and low-carbon energy installations. Firms will benefit from reduced waiting times and often lengthy delays associated with planning permission.
  • Local enterprise partnerships are working alongside telecoms firms to install super-fast broadband in every zone. This will involve implementing the most supporting planning and built environment for this, and where necessary, public funding.
  • Enhanced capital allowances (ECAs), once available in all enterprise zones, will now only be available in special 'designated assisted areas'. Businesses in these zones will qualify for 100 per cent allowances on plant and machinery investment incurred between April 2012 and March 2017. The zones include the Black Country, Humber, Liverpool, North Eastern, Sheffield and Tees Valley. Black Country, Humber, Liverpool, North Eastern, Sheffield, Tees Valley.

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