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Investment: North-East

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 8th June 2011.

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Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman Conservative, Hexham

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage investment in the north-east.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Government have invited both the Tees Valley and North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to establish their governance arrangements bringing business and civic leaders work together to drive sustainable economic growth and create the conditions for private sector job growth in their communities.

These LEPs have been invited to submit proposals for Enterprise Zones which will benefit from:

A business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a five year period;

All business rate growth within the Enterprise Zone for a period of at least 25 years will be retained by the local area, to support the Partnership's economic priorities and ensure that Enterprise Zone growth is reinvested locally;

Government help to develop radically simplified planning approaches for the Zone, for example, existing Local Development Orders;

Government support to ensure that superfast broadband is rolled out throughout the Zone, achieved through guaranteeing the most supportive regulatory environment and, if necessary, public funding.

Further to these incentives the Government will work with LEPs on additional options, to suit local circumstances, including consideration of:

Enhanced capital allowances for plant and machinery, in a limited number of cases and subject to State Aid, where there is a strong focus on manufacturing;

Tax increment finance to support the long-term viability of the area;

The north also benefited from £57 million in the first round of the Regional Growth Fund which provides funding for high-quality transport infrastructure, apprenticeships and support for science.

The Government introduced a National Insurance Contributions holiday starting on 22 June 2010 up until 5 September 2013 providing new businesses that start up outside the greater south-east with a substantial reduction in their employer contributions.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the UK's national trade and investment promotion agency, and leads on delivering a whole-of-Government approach to attracting high quality, high value investment to the UK. Support for inward investment in England, including the north- east, is provided by a new national UKTI-led service outsourced to the private sector. As part of this national inward investment service, a UKTI Investment Services team in Durham will work with local partners, including LEPs, to attract high quality inward investment projects to the north-east.

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