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ENTERPRISE ZONES FOR COALFIELDS MOVE A STAGE CLOSER

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Sixteen sites proposed for European enterprise zone status in areas affected by colliery closures were announced to...
Sixteen sites proposed for European enterprise zone status in areas affected by colliery closures were announced today by DoE Minister Sir George Young, for submission to the European Commission for approval.

Together they would make up the three enterprise zones the government pledged to create to stimulate new employment for redundant miners.

The sites, which are in three groups, at Easington County Durham; the East Midlands; and Dearne Valley, South Yorkshire, have been chosen from a number of options proposed by councils in areas where the workforce has been directly affected by colliery closures.

They represent a balance between those likely to attract development and generate jobs quickly, and those which will be developed over the longer term once derelict land has been reclaimed. It is estimated that eventually about 16,000 jobs will be created in the zones.

Sir George said: 'I congratulate all the local authorities concerned on the quality of their proposals. Competition for sites to be designated was intense and some difficult decisions had to be made.

'Enterprise zones have an excellent record in attracting new firms into their local areas and of generating secure and lasting employment. I am confident that, if our application to the EC is successful, the designation of these sites will lay the foundations for the long term regeneration of the coalfield areas.'

Designation is likely in autumn this year, after the completion of commission and further government procedures.

Any designation of these zones will be for a period of 10 years, during which time the principal financial benefits available to companies locating there will be exemption from national non domestic rates on industrial and commercial property; and 100% initial allowance for corporation and income tax purposes for capital expenditure on industrial and commercial buildings.

Other benefits during the period of designation include exemption from industrial training levies, a simplified planning regime, speedy administration of controls and government requests for information being kept to a minimum.

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