Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has used his recent visit to Birmingham to announce an extension to the city’s 168-acre city centre Enterprise Zone, reports Asian Lite leading UK newspaper popular among British Asians.
The Chancellor has extended the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s (GBSLEP) Birmingham city centre Enterprise Zone to cover the whole of the regeneration area around the HS2 city centre terminus station, and also the duration of the zone.
On the occasion of his visit to the city, The Chancellor said, “This One Nation government will back the working people of the Midlands at every stage of your lives. Our plan to rebalance the whole of the UK economy involves making the Midlands an engine of growth.
“We will support its key strengths in manufacturing, science and energy. We will make major investments to improve transport connections and improve skills. “By creating jobs and allowing people to keep more of the money they earn, we will ensure the Midlands shares in a truly national recovery.”
Steve Hollis deputy chairman of the GBSLEP, said, “We very much welcome the Chancellor’s affirmation to not only extend the geographical area of our city centre EZ but also its duration.’ “This is critically important for our region’s ambitions to maximise opportunities around HS2 and to support the delivery of a £660m investment package in local infrastructure which will optimise growth across the Birmingham Curzon area.
“The £275m investment plan agreed by the GBSLEP and funded by Birmingham City Council through borrowing against future business rate uplift in the EZ has enabled the commencement of works on the £500m redevelopment of Paradise Circus which will deliver more than 6,000 jobs, the £37.95m extension of the Midland Metro tram system and the £30m city centre public realm improvement programme.
“The announcement demonstrates that Government recognises the success of our approach and wants us to use it maximise the benefits of HS2.”
Politicians , trade and business point out that Chancellor’s confirmation means it is ensured that the EZ will provide a major catalyst enabling to further boost funding for local infrastructure, attract new jobs and investment and strengthen the economic role of the regional centre.
George Osborne also used his a visit to Birmingham to pay a visit to a key enterprise project. He visited the Innovation Birmingham Campus, review progress on the 41,700 sq ft iCentrumR building which is now being built. Osborne was accompanied by the Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Dr David Hardman, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said, “The construction of iCentrumR – as the first of five buildings planned for our £45million expansion of the Innovation Birmingham Campus – is driving forward Birmingham’s Smart City agenda. We will create hundreds of new jobs within local SME tech firms, based on this campus and across the Greater Birmingham region.”
It is expected that iCentrumR, which is known as a ‘technology incubator’, will create 400 high-value skilled tech jobs and generate £25 million for the local economy each year.