SHEFFIELD’S jobless are today handed a Yorkshire Day gift from council boss John Mothersole – who said enough new posts are set to be created over the next four years to wipe out the equivalent of city’s unemployment total.
The Sheffield City region Enterprise Zone, being set up from April next year involving sites in the Lower Don Valley, Advanced Manufacturing Park, plus other sites around the M1 motorway, is predicted to create 12,600 jobs as businesses are expected to flock to the area to take advantage of tax breaks.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Council chief executive Mr Mothersole revealed the Sevenstone new retail quarter in the city centre is on track for construction to start in 2013 - with the latest stage of issuing compulsory purchase for the required land now completed. The first shop units will be open by 2015.
The shopping development is set to create 4,400 jobs, Mr Mothersole said.
Latest figures for Job Seekers’ Allowance claimants in Sheffield show there were 16,225 people receiving the benefit at the end of June, 4.4 per cent of the city’s working age population.
Mr Mothersole said: “I think the next five years will be good for Sheffield on the jobs front. It might seem a strange thing to say given that we are surrounded by a sluggish national economy but Sheffield is preparing for something new.
“The Enterprise Zone’s focus on modern manufacturing will capitalise on what is already happening with the growth of the Advanced Manufacturing Park in recent years. The fact it will allow business rates to be kept locally will help us to invest further in the area to deliver even more economic growth.”
Mr Mothersole added further boosts for Sheffield’s economy will come from the council setting up a local housebuilding company with contractor Keepmoat to create new social housing on vacant land around Sheffield’s estates.
The aim is to create 2,000 new homes on the estates, which will create many more job opportunities.
And Mr Mothersole added the council is also looking at how it can capitalise on plans by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who chairs a cabinet committee for development of cities outside London, to free councils from many restrictions on borrowing and allow them to keep all their business rates.
“It would make it easier for us borrow money for infrastructure improvements which could include expanding Supertram,” Mr Mothersole said.
He added that as well as Sevenstone improvements to the Moor and construction of the new Moor market building later this year will help the city centre while, in the longer-term, development of the high speed rail network and the possible station within Sheffield is expected to lead to a construction boom and help drive regeneration.