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Autumn Statement: Osborne announces fresh wave of enterprise zones

CHANCELLOR George Osborne used the Autumn Statement to announce the creation of 26 new enterprise zones across the UK, which will offer British companies business rate relief, streamlined planning regulations and funding assistance.

Established in 2012, the enterprise zones have supported over 540 businesses nationwide, with companies gaining a 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over five years.

Seven new zones will be created within the Northern Powerhouse region, while there will be additional zones in Staffordshire, Newhaven, Aylesbury, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Luton, Great Anglia and the South West of England.

‘‘We are today setting aside the £12bn we promised for our Local Growth Fund and I am announcing the creation of 26 new or extended enterprise zones, including 15 zones in towns and rural areas from Carlisle to Dorset to Ipswich,” Osborne told the House of Commons.

The enterprise zone initiative coincides with the government’s plans to devolve centralised powers to local authorities, with the chancellor claiming that his agenda is ‘‘the most determined effort to change the geographical imbalance that has bedevilled the British economy for half a century.”

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