Chancellor visits Birmingham to announce Enterprise Zone

By on 28/07/2011 in News

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, paid a welcome visit to Birmingham today to announce the Government's approval of the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone bid.

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) establishment of an Enterprise Zone will be estimated to create 40,000 new jobs and generate £2.8 billion into the regional economy.

Attending the event today, Birmingham City Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Paul Tilsley, expressed how pleased he was that the Chancellor had chosen Birmingham to make his announcement, adding:

“We are delighted that the Government has recognised the exceptional potential for economic development of Birminghm city centre, and the key role its future will play as a catalyst to the wider regeneration of the region and country beyond.

“Over recent years, significant public sector-led investment has gone into the city centre, for example into the redevelopment of New Street Station,

to create the solid platform on which private sector growth can now be built.”

Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, said: “This is fantastic news for Birmingham and the surrounding areas. This visit by Mr Osborne shows that our vision for an ambitious Enterprise Zone is being noticed by Government as a showcase for the rest of the country.

“Gaining approval to become an Enterprise Zone will provide access to initiatives such as lower tax levels, simplified planning and reduced administrative procedures, that will enable the LEP to encourage sustainable private sector-led economic growth, enhance local facilities and generate significant job opportunities throughout the region.”

Birmingham City Centre is among 10 Enterprise Zones that were announced by the Government today, completing their 2011 budget target to establish 21 Zones in England.

The Zone will support the redevelopment of key areas around Birmingham City centre as well as publicly funded regeneration and infrastructure projects including the £600m New Street Gateway Project that involves John Lewis bringing one of their biggest new stores outside of London to the heart of Birmingham and the £189m re-development of Birmingham's central library.

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “”I am delighted that Birmingham, and the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, are leading the way in supporting this exciting new policy. I am proud that the scale of our ambition, with a proposal which covers over 70 hectares at the heart of Birmingham, has excited the Government – as has our innovative approach.

“For Birmingham, and for the LEP, we expect the impact of the Enterprise Zone will be formidable. We are working with a business case which over the lifetime of the project could deliver a £2.8bn uplift to our economy, and lead to the creation of 40,000 jobs. Whilst, in the short-term, we can expect to lever in almost 50,000 sq metres of new development and a £200m per annum uplift in our economy.”

 ENDS

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