SOUTH Yorkshire is set for an employment boom which could lead to 12,600 new jobs after the Government announced the area will have one of four new Enterprise Zones being set up around the country to fuel business growth.
Sites around the Don Valley, the Advanced Manufacturing Park, and along the wider ‘M1 corridor’, in the Dearne Valley between Barnsley and Rotherham and Markham, at Chesterfield, are being considered for inclusion in the new zone, which will be created in April next year.
Exact sites are still to be determined after discussions between the Government and local officials but a total of 400,600 square metres of land is to be developed by 2015, increasing to 600,000 in future years.
New firms and existing companies in the chosen areas will benefit from tax relief on purchase of machinery and fit-out of buildings, while business rates paid by firms in each area will be kept locally, to fund investment in infrastructure such as new roads. The amount of business rates kept for local investment could top £20 million in the next few years.
There will also be relaxation of planning rules and super-fast broadband internet.
The announcement was made by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles on a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.
He said: “We are giving the go-ahead to Enterprise Zones in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield because they have the pedigree to accelerate growth and create thousands of new jobs.
“Sheffield is a global brand and a guarantee of quality in manufacturing.”
Mr Pickles was accompanied by James Newman, chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership - the body set up to drive economic growth in the county - which believes up to 12,600 jobs will be created by 2015. They say the jobs figure could grow to as many as 20,000 once the zone is fully developed.
Mr Newman said: “We’re delighted to receive Government-backing for our proposal. To create jobs and economic growth, there needs to be investment in the sectors which present the biggest economic opportunity, and that’s exactly what our zone, which will be called the Modern Manufacturing and Technology Growth Area, will provide.”
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The creation of an enterprise zone is a fantastic opportunity to maximise economic growth and development.”
Sheffield Council leader, John Mothersole, said: “The zone will be based on promoting modern manufacturing.”