The Enterprise Zone scheme was designed to boost Britain’s economy and create stability for the future, giving SMEs and start-ups the opportunity to acquire quality premises at an affordable cost.
By cutting business rates and providing financial assistance in these zones, the government has assisted in ensuring a higher percentage of businesses in their first year find long-term success and therefore bring prosperity and employment to their local communities.
Now Local Growth Minister, Mark Prisk, has announced that eleven enterprise zones across the UK will benefit from a further cash injection of £150 million. This money will come from the government in the fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund.
As a result, the total government investment in the scheme now stands at just under £800 million. However, the scheme has also attracted the attention of investors from within the private sector, with a further boost of almost £230 million having come from this area so far.
According to Mr Prisk, the enterprise zone scheme is already yielding results for British businesses.
He says; “This is more good news for enterprise zones – they are already having a positive impact in the economy, having created 3,000 jobs and attracted £230 million in private sector investment since their standing start 1 year ago.
“Their significant tax incentives, simplified planning and super-fast broadband are making the country a great place to do business and rebalancing the economy by creating new local jobs and business ventures.
“Today’s extra investment will give our enterprise zones another boost towards delivering strong and lasting growth so we can compete in the global economy.”
Since Enterprise Zones were introduced to the UK in April of last year, they have provided business space for 126 new and existing businesses, which in turn have created 3,000 new jobs. Furthermore, they have had a positive effect upon the communities surrounding the actual zone locations, with the recent £1 billion investment in the Royal Docks with a Chinese investor being just one example of this.
With hundreds of SMEs expected to benefit from this latest investment, it is clear that the government is now willing to help small businesses develop in relative financial security. However, without further private sector investment the longevity of the scheme could be called into question.
Mr Prisk claims that further investment from private companies and individuals is already in the pipeline, which could well prove to be invaluable for small firms seeking ways to further their reach in the UK business sphere. With strong investment in the scheme, there is a very real chance that the aim of strengthening the UK economy for future generations of entrepreneurs and consumers will be realised.
Do you think the government should be doing more to drum up interest from private sector investments, or is continuing to use taxpayers’ money to build the foundations of Enterprise Zones the best way to maximise SME success?