Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Gets in the Zone for Big Jobs Boost; Hopes High for Tyneside after Plan Revealed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Gets in the Zone for Big Jobs Boost; Hopes High for Tyneside after Plan Revealed

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

ENTERPRISE Zones announced by the Chancellor will lead to the creation of what the Government says will be a new era for Tyneside.

Two enterprise zones will be created in the North East, one in Teesside and one in Tyneside, amid fears a lack of incentives is seeing major manufacturers head to Scotland and Europe instead.

Speaking after the Budget announcement, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told The Journal he believed the measures announced yesterday would help secure thousands of jobs in the region.

He said two firms, GE and Spanish group Gamesa, were actively weighing up major investment on Tyneside.

Today council leaders in the North East local enterprise partnership, covering the seven councils from Durham to Northumberland, will meet for the first time with new chair Paul Walker.

The former Sage boss will be tasked with getting agreement on where in the region the enterprise zone should be.

Although George Osborne listed Tyneside as the location, it is up to the partnership to recommend where the zone goes.

North Tyneside Conservative mayor Linda Arkley has pushed for Wallsend's North Bank of the Tyne project to be made an enterprise zone, given its position as a centre for offshore wind firms.

But land is available in Sunderland around the Nissan site, and council leader Paul Watson is unlikely to allow Newcastle to draw investment away from his city without some gains elsewhere.

The zones will allow councils to offer a 100% business rate discount for five years. All seven councils will get a share of the increase business rates eventually generated over 25 years.

The Government will also allow simplified planning regulations, help for super-fast broadband and enhanced capital allowances. Iain Malcolm, South Tyneside council leader, said: "Clearly we have a decision to make, and we have until May until we need to advise the Department for Business on where we want this, but it is a welcome situation. …

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