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PS59m fund to boost UK enterprise zones.

TEESSIDE is set to bid for funds from a new PS59m pot aimed at boosting the UK's enterprise zones.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the funding yesterday to help regional economies as he warned local leaders it was time "to take up the gauntlet of growth".

The money has been earmarked for improving infrastructure, such as links to local road networks and utilities installation, in English enterprise zones.

The 24 zones, spread across 142 sites, offer tax incentives and have simplified planning rules as well as superfast broadband in a bid to attract businesses.

Teesside's Enterprise Zone - which was confirmed by the Government in 2011 - comprises 12 sites across Teesside.

This new fund is part of the Local Infrastructure Fund, announced in the Autumn Statement, which provides PS474m for infrastructure investment and other site preparation works that will support economic growth, jobs and homes. Linda Edworthy, director of policy and strategy at Tees Valley Unlimited - which operates the Teesside Enterprise Zone -said: "We see the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone as crucial in attracting growth and development and each site already has an individual delivery plan that will support and nurture key Tees Valley sectors.

"We welcome further details of the EZ Infrastructure Fund to which we anticipate submitting our prioritised schemes soon.

"The Fund further illustrates TVU's ability to fast track local projects for the benefit of the local economy and workforce."

Teesside successes so far have included Durable Technologies' move to Hartlepool's Queens Meadow Business Park. The designer of energy efficient lighting systems will see the size of its premises quadruple to 2,400 sq ft and it aims to triple its workforce.

Mr Pickles said yesterday's announcement would allow successful bidders to turn "shovel ready sites into job ready sites".

He added: "Economic growth is this Government's biggest priority and enterprise zones are the engine room of that strategy.

"They are a fantastic way to attract the jobs and business investment that local areas need.

"This new PS59m fund will turbo charge that engine by turning shovel ready sites into job ready sites."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2013
Words:345
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