Cash help for 1,000 new Doncaster jobs

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A pilot scheme which could help to create 1,000 new jobs in Doncaster will be considered by the Mayor and her Cabinet next week.

The Inward Investment Incentive Scheme is the latest initiative by Doncaster Council to help create new jobs and apprenticeships for local people.

The pilot scheme has £500,000 available to support proposals that fulfil the criteria of creating new jobs and business space in Doncaster. Councill officials say it will incentivise development by offering grants to businesses of up to £500 for each new job created and filled by a local resident, with a grant worth up to a year’s business rates also available to companies moving to or expanding in Doncaster that occupy newly created business space.

A report which will be seen by the cabinet says the scheme is very much an ‘offer to attract’ new investors and enable business growth – what can Doncaster do to get investors to locate in the borough.

It says there would be guidelines for Business Doncaster, which would be asked to be involved, of what is available to offer. It is proposed that incentives should not be offered up to investors who are clearly already in the process of locating to Doncaster, such as those which already have planning permission granted.

But the report warns state aid rules exist to avoid public funded interventions distorting competition within the European Union. Each application would have to come with a signed statement describing what assistance the firm has had over the last three years. Grants will be awarded to EU thresholds, currently about £170,000, and at the discretion of Doncaster Council.

Mayor Ros Jones said: “When I was elected I promised to help bring new jobs and economic growth to Doncaster. This is latest in a growing list of policies and projects designed to achieve that goal. The Inward Investment Incentive would support companies that are aiming to take on more highly-skilled staff, but perhaps just need that little bit of support in order to do it.

The investment pilot scheme is part of a wide-ranging programme of initiatives designed to drive economic growth and comes as the latest construction work on the £400million iPort development in Rossington gets underway.

“We’ve already secured a new Enterprise Zone at the airport and started work on £56m of new major infrastructure projects, changed the rules to help Doncaster companies bid for Council contracts and created almost 500 new apprenticeships since I became Mayor less than 18 months ago. Of course last week we also had a major success when we won the right to host the new National College for High Speed Rail.

“We’re now seeing record employment levels in Doncaster and youth unemployment is going down. These initiatives will make a huge difference to Doncaster residents now and in the future” concluded Mrs Jones.

The scheme is also backed by opposition councillors.

Conservative group leader Coun Jonathan Wood said: “Obviously anything that stimulates the Doncaster economy is a good thing. We want to see a good balance of packages that considers the needs of business and creates jobs.”

If approved by cabinet, more information on the scheme and how it will work will be available at www.businessdoncaster.com.

The scheme which is still under development would go live later in the year.

Exclusions and conditions will apply to grants.

The funding for this pilot scheme has been allocated from the council’s reserves.