Enterprise Zones are the latest government incentive to get businesses growing. Within the Enterprise Zone you can get superfast broadband, lower rates & taxes, and low levels of regulation & planning controls.
That can only be a good thing – right? A great encouragement for younger companies who may otherwise struggle to reach critical mass.
Maybe, however there is considerable criticism of this approach also. Firstly it’s not new. Maggie Thatcher tried exactly this in the 1980’s. They provided a boost at the time that wasn’t able to be sustained.
Critics argue that all the Enterprise Zones do is to displace jobs from one area to another, with up to 80% of the jobs they create taken from other places.
Also that they are expensive, with estimates ranging from £23,000 to £50,000 per job created.
Having said that, if you are looking to expand your business (the zones will be most useful for businesses that have been going for two or three years, and are looking to expand and inhabit their first business premises), is there a benefit to doing so in a Enterprise Zone rather than elsewhere?
Probably yes. One of the main benefits that the zones will offer is a business rate discount worth up to £275,000, or enhanced capital allowances for plant and machinery where there is a strong focus on manufacturing, over a five year period. That coupled with the other advantages of infrastructure and support can make it attractive.
So where are these Zones? They are not all in areas needing regeneration, another criticism, but are areas with the most potential for growth and those which could attract inward investment from abroad. The government has announced the following areas will get an Enterprise Zone:
the Black Country;
the Tees Valley;
the West of England;
the North East;
Humber Estuary Renewable Energy Super Cluster;
Daresbury Science Campus in Warrington;
Newquay AeroHub in Cornwall;
The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus Airfield in Gosport;
MIRA Technology Park in Hinckley, Leicestershire;
Rotherwas Enterprise Zone in Hereford;
Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent, and Enterprise West Essex in Harlow;
Science Vale UK in Oxfordshire;
Alconbury Airfield, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire;
Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and Lowestoft in Suffolk.
Interestingly, it is difficult to then get further detail on each and how to apply to be in one. These are being managed by each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), so the first step is to contact one of these. You don’t have to already be working or living in the area, if you are prepared to move your business there.
Resources that may help: