Established in 2012, Enterprise Zones are at the heart of the Government’s long term economic plan, supporting businesses to grow. Since their start in April 2012 they have attracted over 430 companies, secured over £2.1bn of private sector investment and created more than 15,500 jobs across the Country. Enterprise Zones are hosted by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in which commercial and industrial businesses are eligible for financial incentives to set up or expand. The majority of UK Enterprise Zones are located in England, though there are 7 in Wales and 4 in Scotland.
Commercial and industrial firms locating to Enterprise Zones are eligible for incentives to set up or expand, such as business rate discounts and Enhanced Capital Allowances for the purchase of machinery and equipment. Enterprise Zones have also been eligible to apply for a number of grants including the Local Infrastructure Fund to support enabling works in and around Enterprise Zone sites and also accelerate large scale housing developments and the Capital Grant Fund to support infrastructure projects. In addition, Enterprise Zones will be subject to simplified local authority planning.
In terms of value to the construction industry, more than £410m is being spent by LEPs on major projects across Enterprise Zones in the UK. This has led to a major boost to the UK construction sector with work already carried out to redevelop more than 100 hectares of land and deliver more than 5.4m sq. ft. of new or refurbished floor space. Enterprise Zones are also bringing back speculative development to the UK for the first time since the recession.
There are proposals to extend a number of enterprise zones in the UK, as well as to establish new Enterprise Zones. In the 2015 Summer Budget, key measures affecting LEPs and Enterprise Zones with the invitation to bid for a new round of Enterprise Zones were also announced. In addition, the Government wants its 20 newly established Housing Zones to be areas where the process of house-building on brownfield land can be accelerated and simplified through locally led partnerships.
The Advanced Manufacturing/Engineering sector is one of the most significant within the UK Enterprise Zone market, with 19 LEPs having earmarked large areas for future developments. It is in these Zones that the bulk of future Advanced Manufacturing development is expected to take place, with many schemes yet to appoint developers. Regional clustering is central to the advanced manufacturing supply chain and a number of Enterprise Zones have developed extensive supply chains. Key individual sectors are automotive, aerospace, renewable energy and low carbon, life sciences and IT and consumer electronics.