The Greater Birmingham area is set to receive a £2.8 billion annual boost to its economy, creating 40,000 new jobs and establishing the city as a global centre for inward investment.
The Enterprise Zone prospectus, launched today (22 February) by Chancellor George Osborne MP, gives details of 26 development opportunities that make up the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone.
The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) borrowed £125 million against a future uplift in rates to fund its programme to develop infrastructure, create new commercial and office space, enhance broadband, and boost skills.
Companies that locate within the Enterprise Zone before 2015 will receive additional support through business rates relief worth up to £250,000 over five years and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) will be allowed to retain the uplift in business rates.
Andy Street, chair of the GBSLEP, said:
“Not only is the Zone crucial to the delivery of the job and economic impact targets set by the Local Enterprise Partnership, but it will also be used to fund projects right across the area.
“Because we are allowed to retain uplift in business rates, the GBSLEP will be able to drive further investment in infrastructure, business support, employment and skills and access to finance, not just within the city centre but in the districts that make up the GBSLEP.”
The Zone aims to position Birmingham as an alternative to London for international investors, helped by an extension of Birmingham Airport’s runway.
This includes Argent’s redevelopment of the city’s Paradise Circus into an office, retail and hotel complex, with a traffic-free setting for the grade 1 listed town hall.
Birmingham could also benefit from Lord Heseltine’s proposal to devolve up to £70bn of Whitehall funding to local areas. A report will be published at the end of March on what the city could do with its share.
For more information on Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone visit http://bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk/ez-main/.