The Government have produced a paper entitled Supporting Local Growth which highlights the initiatives being taken to promote economic growth – even on what Lord Howe might have described as "relatively stony ground."
In the foreward the Communities secretary Eric Pickles and the Business Secretary Vince Cable say:
Instead of seeking to engineer growth from Whitehall or through regional agencies, we are now putting power in the hands of local councils and businesses. Instead of seeing public investment as a solution in itself, we have a renewed focus and are using that to stimulate private growth and employment – catalysing investment and encouraging enterprise.
The past year has seen real progress. Local enterprise partnerships, bringing together business and civic leaders, are now up and running across ninety-nine per cent of the country. They provide a strong locally led structure to make strategic use of the growth initiatives in this paper.
Twenty-four Enterprise Zones have been announced, and the prospect of business rate discounts and simplified planning is set to attract new investment and kick-start business growth.
With new opportunities for local leadership, we are providing significant financial support to local economies. The Regional Growth Fund, the Growing Places Fund and the Get Britain Building Fund will provide a boost of £3.3bn to local economies in the coming years, creating and sustaining tens of thousands of jobs.
Fundamentally we are creating the right conditions for long term and sustainable growth. To reduce the burden of regulation we are overhauling the current stock of regulations through the Red Tape Challenge, resulting in the scrapping or simplifying of 160 regulations and we are set to go further still.
The New Homes Bonus, the Community Infrastructure Levy and business rate reform will ensure councils and communities feel real benefits from development and economic expansion, giving them real reasons to say “yes” to growth. Tax increment financing will give councils a new way of funding improvements to infrastructure. We also aim to strike deals with English cities that will see those cities acquire new powers in exchange for a commitment to boosting their local economy.
The paper also gives evidence of what iimpact the measures are having. For instance on Enterprise Zones:
In September Jaguar Land Rover announced it would build a £355m engine plant on the i54 site- part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone. The first phase comprises 70,000sqm with a second expansion phase of around 65,000sqm. The plant will employ 750 staff and is due to be in
operation by 2014.
Tees Valley are establishing locally funded Enterprise Zone sites alongside those that are being supported by Government. The aim of this is to attract further investment in the area and support diversification of the local economy. Tees Valley are in discussion with a number of overseas investors in relation to investing in the zone, as an Enhanced Capital Allowance site, and bringing new development forward.
The Northampton Enterprise Zone will redevelop and regenerate a large area around Northampton station and along the River Nene. A planning application has now been submitted for a land-mark development on the site – a 3740sqm ‘innovation cube’ which will provide high quality accommodation for 60 start-up businesses.
The New Anglia local enterprise partnership has developed a ‘soft landing’ package to give targeted support to businesses locating in their Enterprise Zone. This will include access to an energy sector support team; dedicated Inward Investment Director; access to key economic, cost and skills information; searches for suitable land and premises; introductions to supply chain partners; support from specialist energy sector knowledge hubs and access to UK Trade & Investment support.
The Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough Enterprise Zone – Alconbury Business Campus – will strengthen the manufacturing base across the partnership area, by encouraging ideas worked upon by scientists, academics and entrepreneurs to be produced locally rather that lost to overseas manufacturing. The Enterprise Zone will have a broad focus on ICT, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals, advanced manufacturing, creative industries, engineering and processing.