New pubs, bars and restaurants in parts of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield are set to have lower business rates and fewer restrictions on planning control, after the four cities were the latest to be to be announced as “Enterprise Zones”, writes Gurjit Degun. Eligible firms opening in the new designated zone will receive a business rates discount of up to £275,000 set over five years. The income from the business rates will be shared and retained by the local area for at least 25 years. The local authorities could also grant automatic planning permission, and businesses will be entitled to superfast broadband. The specific zones are areas in Birmingham city centre, sites in Lower Aire Valley in Leeds, Temple Meads station in Bristol and sites along the M1 in Sheffield. Plans for 21 of these zones were set out in the Budget, and a further 10 will be announced later this year. There are currently four enterprise zones operating in the Boots campus in Nottingham, Manchester Airport, Liverpool Waters and the Royal Docks, in London. “For too long our economy has been dependent on just one corner of the country and too few industries,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. “But it won’t be ministers in Whitehall who can drive this growth; it will be those with the great business idea who are ready to start up, the entrepreneurs who want to grow their company, the businesses looking to expand into new markets. “It is our dynamic businesses large and small that are on the frontline of our economic recovery and we are committed to do all that we can to ensure that they can thrive.” Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “Today we are giving the go-ahead to sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield because they have the pedigree to accelerate growth and create thousands of new jobs. “Our low-tax, low-regulation Enterprise Zones will help make our country the best place in Europe to start and grow a business.”

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