Spending Review: Osborne announces new enterprise zones

Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to create a fresh wave of enterprise zones as part of his Spending Review.

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne

Osborne said the new zones would include 15 in "smaller towns and rural areas" following a call for bids launched off the back of July’s Summer Budget, and the expansion of eight existing enterprise zones.

Enterprise zones offer companies business rates relief, streamlined planning regulations through the use of local development orders, and capital funding assistance aimed at supporting job creation. There are currently 24 zones in England.

Supporting data from HM Treasury said seven new enterprise zones would be created at unspecified locations in the North.

New zones would also be created at Newhaven, Aylesbury Vale, Didcot, in the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, at the Dorset Green technology park in Purbeck, and in the Heart of South West LEP area, which covers Somerset and Devon.

There would also be enterprise zones at Stoke-on-Trent, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, and Suffolk. 

In his speech to the House of Commons, Osborne described how the government was bringing together multiple sources of funding to create a cashpot more than double the size of the Regional Growth Fund, City Deals Fund, and Growing Places Fund.  

Osborne said: "We are today setting aside the £12 billion we promised for our Local Growth Fund and I am announcing the creation of 26 new or extended enterprise zones, including 15 zones in towns and rural areas from Carlisle to Dorset to Ipswich."

He added that the government’s devolution agenda was "the most determined effort to change the geographical imbalance that has bedevilled the British economy for half a century".

5pm Update: The Department for Communities and Local Government subsequenlty published a full list of the new and expanded enterprise zones. It can be seen here.

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