The Executive Director, Economic Development and Communities submitted a report that gave an overview of the proposals regarding extending Enterprise Zones within the Tees Valley.
Enterprise Zones (EZs) were sites designated by the Government, within which a package of incentives were offered to new occupiers to encourage business expansion and faster take-up of premises and were seen as a key part of the current Government's policy to stimulate economic growth.
Four sites were recognised by the Government as "official EZs and eligible for up to 100% business rate relief for five years up to the maximum state aid de minimis threshold (£55,000pa). These sites would generate a long-term income stream for the LEP, as the Government would provide it with a grant equivalent to any rate relief agreed, and all further business rates collected would be retained by the LEP for a period of 25 years.
Four sites that would be 'locally adopted as EZs, where the same financial incentives could be offered (without assistance from the Government). These would be funded by the income secured through the success of the 'official four:
In July 2015 the Government opened a competitive process for a further round of Enterprise Zones with a deadline for applications to be received by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) of 18th September 2015. The report outlined in further detail the application process and stated what the incentives for the New Enterprise Zones would be.
Following discussion at the LEP Board it was decided to submit a Tees Valley application focussed on three sites:
Central Park (Darlington);
Northshore (Stockton); and,
Historic Quarter (Middlesbrough).
The Government announced on 25th November 2015, the creation of 18 new enterprise zones and extended 8 enterprise zones as part of its spending review. The Tees Valley application, Enterprise Zone Growth Extension was included in this announcement.
Following the formal announcement in November the DCLG requested final maps indicating the boundaries for each of the Enterprise Zone site designations and baseline business rate figure based on a snapshot of the estimated net rates income for each site. These details would be used to create the regulations allowing for Business Rate Retention and Discount. These maps and baseline figures have subsequently been submitted to DCLG. Each LA and the LEP would now be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Once completed the MoU would set out exactly what business incentives were being offered by Government for what sites as well as the support for the new zone that would be offered by Government Departments. It would also confirm the arrangements that were, or would be, in place for the operation and development of the new Enterprise Zone. The LEP in partnership with the LA's would have to submit a 5-year delivery plan to the Secretary of State setting out how the Enterprise Zone would be set up and operated.
To aid the production of the delivery plan the LEP were seeking to re-establish the subregional Enterprise Zone Delivery Group. This group would ensure any proposals were in line with corporate requirements as well as meeting the Government's agenda. Officers from Regeneration and Strategic Resources would be directly involved in this work, bringing in officers from other functions where appropriate. The report outlined in further detail the Key areas of work being undertaken.
that the approach taken to securing Enterprise Zone status be endorsed; and,
that responsibility for developing the Enterprise Zone business rate discount scheme and the accompanying administrative processes and signing of the MOU be delegated to the Executive Director of Commercial & Corporate Services in consultation with the Executive Director of Economic Development & Communities and Executive Members for Regeneration and Finance and Governance.
The decisions were supported by the following reason:
Securing successful Enterprise Zones within Middlesbrough will provide the opportunity to impact significantly upon the local economy. Development of successful Enterprise Zones throughout the rest of the Tees Valley will also increase the employment opportunities available to Middlesbrough residents.