The government has made an additional £100 million available for Enterprise Zones to speed up infrastructure projects such as road building that will unlock development potential.
Enterprise Zones have until 18 November to apply for the new capital grants under the Building Foundations for Growth scheme. They will have to compete against each other for the funds which will be available in the 2014 to 2015 financial year.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the grants are to unlock areas previously lying idle, turning them into prime economic sites that will attract further investment and create jobs.
Mr Pickles said Enterprise Zones are making good progress, having attracted some £500 million of private sector investment, creating 4,000 jobs in 180 businesses. “We want them to grow further and faster and this extra £100 million will ensure that they have the infrastructure in place to attract even more businesses successfully and create many more local jobs.”
The government is investing £700 million to support Enterprise Zones and their Local Enterprise Partnerships. Companies investing in Enterprise Zones include Jaguar Land Rover, which has a massive capital investment programme under way in British factories and other premises, and American aerospace company Lockheed Martin. Industries like offshore wind are already attracted by their tax, planning, and infrastructure benefits. A science park within a Zone at Daresbury has attracted 13 new science and technology businesses already and will start work on infrastructure works and new build office and laboratory space shortly, said Mr Pickles.
Other key investments in Zones include a £1,000 million project funded by a Chinese developer to create a new business district in London’s Royal Docks that will create an estimated 20,000 jobs.