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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:01 pm on 24th March 2014.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 5:01 pm, 24th March 2014

I am not sure whether I was aware of that. I am surprised but not shocked by the revelation. It is a good job that we have had an opportunity to make that difference to the British economy.

Enterprise zones have led the way in creating jobs all over the country as well as in helping the UK to become a world leader in a range of technologies and for inward investment. The existing 24 zones have created 7,500 jobs, and multinational companies have been tempted to the UK thanks to our business rate and simplified planning offers and other financial benefits.

To sustain that momentum, we have extended the business rate discount to 2018, offering up to £55,000 off business rates a year for five years, and extended the enhanced capital allowances incentive for those zones that have it. That includes Northern Ireland’s first enterprise zone, which is being established close to the university of Ulster campus near Coleraine. That measure comes on top of the business rates announcement in the Budget for small firms and local shops. By backing new and developing businesses and offering exclusive packages to entice new investment, we are confident that enterprise zones will carry on creating jobs and specialist local economies.