Business leaders in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire have described the Government’s decision on Enterprise Zones announced this morning as a bittersweet moment.
The decision to award Enterprise Zone status for I54 in south Staffordshire has been greeted with joy. The site is internationally important and critical to the drive to put Staffordshire at the heart of job creation nationally.
But the team remain determined to keep up the pace and energy of action in the north of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent after being knocked back on plans for an Enterprise Zone centred on the Etruria Valley in Stoke.
The Government this morning announced another 11 zones across the UK to kick start a wave of new investment opportunities and jobs, taking the total to 21 locations. Competition was fierce to get on the list.
The I54 decision for the south of the county is a great vote of confidence for the region, but the decision on the Etruria focused EZ is of course a disappointment.
Our determination and belief in the area are absolutely undaunted. We are generating an impressive investment package that has put us in poll position for future investment.
Our business friendly approach and unified commitment to making life easy for investors has been really paying off in recent months with international names setting up home here, bringing more jobs and prosperity.
This red carpet approach for business investors is recognised by government as leading the way nationally. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has one of the highest, if not the highest, job creation levels in the country.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP has done well in gaining Regional Growth Bid funding, start-up funding, broadband funding and in supporting the I54 EZ bid. And we have the second round of RGF bids on the horizon. We are taking the project forward
The LEP, working hand in hand with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire councils, will continue to develop a host of other measures designed to put business first including:
- the red carpet treatment ““ local councils working as one to streamline planning and other technical processes to make it easy for businesses to invest
- the creation of a LEP growth fund to provide start up finance for business investment
- the creation of an Educational Trust by the Universities, working with the LEP to develop Enterprise Skills to meet business needs
- support for the drive to ensure superfast broadband is available across the area
- lobbying to promote Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as a premier investment location at a national and international level.