£400m Boost for Business and Local Economies

January 29th, 2014






  •     Sci-Tech Daresbury in line for share of £100m fund
  •     Liverpool and Manchester eligible for University     Enterprise Zones funding
  •     North West businesses to receive retail £1000 tax discounts

A £415 million cash injection to back business, boost high streets, create jobs and help local economies thrive was announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today, as part of the Government’s long term economic plan.

The announcement comprises:

  •  £300 million to give 300,000 small retail firms £1000 off their next tax bill
  • £100 million to support critical business infrastructure in Enterprise Zones
  • £15 million to establish new University Enterprise Zones in the eight main UK cities

As part of the growth boost, Sci-Tech Daresbury Enterprise Zone is shortlisted for funding of up to £3.58m which will enable the construction of the new Techspace building.

The money is part of a  £100 million ‘nuts and bolts’ infrastructure cash injection to transform land at enterprise zones across the country and fast-track new jobs in key industries.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“As part of our long term economic plan, we are backing business and enterprise right across the country, helping town centres and local industries to prosper, and building a stronger economy.

“This money for infrastructure will transform acres of Enterprise Zone land and build a stronger, more competitive business environment that will create up to 3000 jobs for hardworking people across the country.

“While our fully funded £1000 retail discount will make a huge difference to 300,000 of the essential small shops and local traders we find in our town centres across the country.”

Enterprise Zones – infrastructure boost to create up to 3000 jobs for key industries by 2015

 Daresbury is one of twelve Enterprise Zone bids have been shortlisted to complete critical ‘nuts and bolts’ infrastructure that will turn dormant sites into prime economic land, attracting new businesses and jobs to Harlow, Humber, Leeds, Sheffield, Discovery Park in Kent, Oxford, Daresbury, Alconbury, London’s Royal Docks, the Black Country, Nottingham and the Solent.

Its share of the funding would enable new infrastructure to be built so that small to medium sized companies in the Zone can expand as they need to.

Sci-Tech Daresbury is an internationally- recognised national centre that fosters relationships between science, innovation and industry and is home to more than 100 high-tech companies, many of whom are expanding and moving into new premises. 163 jobs have been located into the Enterprise Zone since April 2012.

Fouteen new companies have moved into the Zone since April 2012 including Lockheed Martin, LPW Technology, Perceptive Engineering, Enhanced Hydrocarbon Technologies, Inventya and ac & e.

Kris Hopkins, Local Growth Minister, said,

“The Sci-Tech Daresbury Enterprise Zone is a real hotspot for science and technology. We are now investing an extra £3.5 million to ensure the Zone has the infrastructure it needs to bring even more businesses to the area and allow the zone to fulfill its ambition of creating 10,000 local jobs in the next 20 years.

“This is part of our long term economic plan to back business and enterprise right across the country, and it will help Daresbury to prosper and create more jobs for its hardworking people.”

John Downes, Director of Sci-Tech Daresbury’s joint venture company said:

“The Enterprise Zone status at Sci-Tech Daresbury is a great example of how strategic government intervention can play a key role in economic regeneration through investment in major opportunities with high growth potential.

“Sci-Tech Daresbury is a joint venture between Langtree, Halton Borough Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council and it is the effective working of this private/public partnership that has given the government the confidence to invest in Sci-Tech Daresbury because of its ability to deliver real results and drive the collaboration between high-tech business and government-funded science.

“We are delighted to receive this award of up to £3.58m from the Enterprise Zone Capital Grant fund.  This comes on top of £7.36m of funding already approved from the regional growth fund last year and both awards form part of a total investment package in the region of £30m that will commence on site at Sci-Tech Daresbury this year. We are very excited about our imminent investment proposals and there is no doubt that they will be a key milestone in the further development of the campus.”

Paula Cain, Chief Executive of Halton Chamber said,

“This is tremendous news for Sci-Tech Daresbury, the Halton borough and also the region as a whole.  There is no doubt that the partnership created by Langtree, Halton Borough Council and STFC, has been a resounding success, not least in its ability to secure investment through public funding and create additional jobs.  This latest award is indeed testimony to the hard work that has taken place by all parties involved over a number of years as well as the degree of confidence that exists within government for the potential for Sci-Tech Daresbury to continue to deliver significant results in the future.

“Already we have over 100 science and technology businesses located at Sci-Tech Daresbury.  The further development of the site will undoubtedly make the campus an extremely attractive location for new occupiers looking to co-locate next to other like-minded businesses in a high quality, sustainable and collaborative environment.”

The funding for road building, refurbishment, utility supply and land clearance will mean that 3.5 million square metres of land is brought back into use and 124,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace will be created by 2015.  In addition 10km of new road and two new bridges will be constructed, reducing congestion for residents and increasing the access to new Enterprise Zone sites for business.

Enterprise Zones have already attracted 250 businesses, secured £1.1 billion of private sector investment and created over 7000 local jobs.

In addition from today universities in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield can bid for part of a £15 million fund to establish University Enterprise Zones.  This will strengthen the role of higher education in supporting local growth and innovation.

The funding will also lead to the development of new business spaces within universities. These spaces will host a range of start-up, high-tech companies that can benefit best from universities’ expert knowledge.

 High Streets – 300,000 retail businesses get £1000 taken off tax bill in weeks

In a further measure to back business, 300,000 retail businesses are eligible for a new special retail discount, worth £1000.

New guidance for local authorities published today spells out which high street businesses will be entitled to the new discount.

Retail premises are eligible for a £1,000 discount in 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016. These businesses must also be occupied and have a rateable value, used to calculate bills, below £50,000.

Councils should now automatically include the discount in the business rate bills they are sending out shortly so all eligible businesses receive their centrally funded tax break. Business specifically excluded include payday lenders, betting shops and pawn brokers.

This discount can be used on top of other measures announced by the Chancellor  that will come into effect in April, to reduce the tax burden on small business. The measures amount to the biggest package of support in over 20 years.

A £1 billion high street support package was unveiled in December 2013 to support British business. This included:

  • capping the annual Retail Price Index (RPI) increase in bills at 2 per cent in 2014 to 2015 – businesses were expecting a 3.2 per cent rise
  • extending the doubling of the Small Business Rates Relief to April 2015
  • Small business rate relief has also been extended to including small firms taking on an additional second property (for up to a year), helping helping an estimated  3,000 businesses expand;
  • a reoccupation discount of 50% off business rates bill for 18 months for new occupants of retail premises previously empty for a year or more
  • allowing businesses to pay their bills over 12 months, rather than 10, to help every firm with their monthly cash flow;

Further information:

High Streets

 300,000 properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments with a rateable value of £50,000 or less, that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. The new guidance published today, available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-relief

Enterprise Zones

Enterprise Zones are at the centre of the Government’s ambitious, long term plan to rebalance the economy, achieve strong, lasting growth and widely shared prosperity. They are key to putting the Government’s industrial strategy into action by attracting investment and supporting innovation in new and emerging markets. In total the Government is investing £330 million to support Enterprise Zones to realise their potential as engine rooms of local economies.

Since they opened for business in April 2012 Enterprise Zones have laid firm foundations for success, attracting international companies, building centres of excellence in key industries such as automotive, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy that will ensure that Britain continues to be competitive and successful on a global stage.

All bids announced as shortlisted are ‘in principle’ decisions and areas will be asked to prepare a full business case.

Read more information on the enterprise zones website and on Local Invest UK.

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