Government pledges extra £100m to Enterprise Zones

Communities secretary Eric Pickles confirms the additional funding to help complete infrastructure projects around the new business hubs

Enterprise Zones have been given an additional £100m of funding from the government in a bid to improve infrastructure.

The government first announced the business hubs in the budget of 2011, offering centres across the UK with cut business tax rates, simplified planning procedures and high-end facilities, including superfast broadband connectivity.

But some of the infrastructure projects – including road building and land clearance – have yet to get off the ground and the government wants to pump extra cash in to ensure the sites become successful.

The announcement was made by communities secretary Eric Pickles, who sang the praises of the achievements of the zones so far.

"Enterprise zones are at the centre of our plans to back business, help local economies grow stronger and give the UK that competitive edge,” Pickles said.

"The zones are showing progress with over 180 businesses, half a billion pounds of private sector investment and nearly 4,000 jobs, and many more in the pipeline.”

Businesses to have set up in the areas so far include Lockheed Martin and Jaguar Land Rover. However, SMBs are getting in on the act too, such as Sci Tech Daresbury, which has signed up 13 new science and technology businesses in the zone and will begin infrastructure works, along with building new office and laboratory space, by the end of this year.

"We want to help the zones grow further and faster and this extra £100m investment will ensure they have the infrastructure in place to successfully attract even more businesses and create many more local jobs," said Pickles.

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