GEORGE Osborne today handed a major jobs boost to the North East as he agreed extra tax breaks for firms coming to the region.
The Chancellor announced plans to increase by half the area covered in the North East enterprise zones, offering help to new firms looking to set up alongside the Nissan supply chain, on the banks of the River Tyne and in the Port of Blyth.
In an attempt to prove the Government’s commitment to the manufacturing industry, Mr Osborne will allow extra business rate relief for firms setting up in the extended enterprise zone as well as increased capital allowances needed to tempt in heavy industry companies.
The Chancellor was today meeting with business leaders in the North East to discuss further ways to help the regional economy.
And he was able to see at first-hand the progress that is being made on the construction of a 421,000 sq ft new warehouse for Vantec Europe at the North East Enterprise Zone in Sunderland when he visited the site this morning.
The Chancellor said: “When I announced the decision to create the North East Enterprise Zone I said that if it was a success, I would consider the case for expanding it.
“What I've seen with my own eyes today at Vantec shows that it is a success. I can confirm that the Government will offer new tax breaks for an additional 40 hectare site - provided a local agreement can be struck in the next 12 months.
“This is a further commitment by this Government to enterprise in the North East, helping the private sector create sustainable jobs and lasting industry, replacing the unsustainable public borrowing of the past.”
Paul Woolston, chairman of the North East LEP, which manages the North East Enterprise Zone, said: “This announcement is great news for the North East EZ. The Chancellor’s decision means that enhanced capital allowance EZ land wil grow dramatically from 88 to 128 hectares, and the overall EZ land is extended by a further quarter. It is exciting news for the region and for potential investors.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s visit today, and we are delighted with the news that the success of the North East Enterprise Zone, leading the way in the UK by attracting major international investment, is to be extended, which will bring hundreds of new job opportunities to the region. The NE Local Enterprise Partnership has been working hard to bring about an extension of the EZ for many months, and this is a tremendous result for all involved.
“It’s great to see Vantec’s tremendous progress at its building on the EZ. The North East, and Sunderland in particular, is already a hugely important area for the UK’s automotive industry. The city’s ambitions to become Europe’s automotive hub are enhanced by this development, and we are working hard alongside the City Council and partners to build on this success by attracting new investors to the region.”
The Chancellor’s decision means that enhanced capital allowance land will grow dramatically from 88 to 128 hectares, and the overall enterprise zone is extended by a further quarter.
There had been concerns that plans to extend the zone to Blyth following the loss of jobs at the Northumberland Alcan site would be watered down as the full tax allowances were not then increased in line with the new zone.
The partnership now has 12 months to allocate the extra tax allowances on the additional 40 hectares.
Andrew Hodgson, deputy leader of the partnership, was among those welcoming the Chancellor’s decision as a further commitment to the region.
He said: “The extension of the zone is something I and others have urged the Government to act on and it is great to see this happening.”
Mr Hodgson added that the partnership was keen to see more powers of job creation handed over, including a slice of remaining regional growth fund cash.