- Blackpool to benefit from new Enterprise Zone, which could attract up to 140 new businesses and 3,000 high-tech jobs.
- An opportunity to secure the long-term future of Blackpool Airport.
- Will provide vital jobs and skills training for the energy industry.
Blackpool is to become the latest place to benefit from an Enterprise Zone and will become a centre of excellence for the energy sector, boosting the local economy, James Wharton announced today (12 November 2015).
The Northern Powerhouse Minister said that the move would attract greater inward investment and help deliver hundreds of new jobs. It will also provide an opportunity to secure the long term future of Blackpool Airport.
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:
“From Sheffield to the Solent, we’ve seen how having an Enterprise Zone can completely transform a local economy, creating jobs and attracting significant investment.
“Blackpool is the latest town set to benefit from having these additional business freedoms, which is a real boost for the town’s ambitions to become a centre of excellence for the UK energy sector, as well as being the home of the world famous illuminations.
“On top of this, by closing the economic gap between the North and South and attracting new businesses to the Enterprise Zone, it could secure the future of Blackpool Airport for years to come.”
An energy centre of excellence
The Blackpool Enterprise Zone will become a centre of excellence for the energy sector, with plans for a new Energy HQ, a dedicated new training facility to be developed by Blackpool and Fylde College.
Backed by £6.2m Growth Deal funding, it aims to provide job-ready students in engineering and advanced technology.
It is also home to Lightworks, the depot where Blackpool’s iconic illuminations are manufactured and stored.
Most recently, Lightworks benefitted from £2m coastal communities funding to provide the Lightpool projection and digital mapping on Blackpool Tower.
As a new Enterprise Zone, Blackpool will also benefit from a range of incentives including:
- business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a 5-year period
- generous enhanced capital allowances (tax relief) worth millions to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery
- 100% retention of business rate growth for the LEP, to enable them to fund development on the Enterprise Zone.
Other successful Enterprise Zones include:
- The Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (BTQEZ), which has attracted 2,000 jobs across a range of sectors including engineering, ICT, low carbon and the creative industries. The success of the Enterprise Zone is set to continue with the number of new jobs forecast to reach 4,000 in 2017;
- At Markham Vale, Derbyshire, where work is about to commence on building a new link road from the M1 motorway to the Enterprise Zone, opening up development on the zone to key transport links generating new jobs and encouraging investment; and
- Manchester Airports Group, who plan to launch the £130m ‘China Cluster’ at Airport City with the aim to lure Far East firms to Airport City. It will provide a commercial base for Chinese businesses arriving in the UK and offering a wide range of high quality office premises. The Cluster will be based around two campuses within the Airport City development – Wuhan Square and Shenzhen Gardens – together totalling 45,000 sq. metres of space.