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Blackpool gets an enterprise zone

Words: Laura Edgar

Blackpool will benefit from a new enterprise zone aimed at developing a highly skilled workforce for the energy industry, Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton has announced.

The minister said the move would attract greater inward investment and help deliver hundreds of new jobs.

The new enterprise zone could attract “up to 140 new business and 3,000 high-tech jobs” as well as provide an opportunity to secure the long-term future of Blackpool Airport.

Wharton said: “From Sheffield to the Solent, we’ve seen how having an enterprise zone can completely transform a local economy, creating jobs and attracting significant investment.

“Blackpool is the latest town set to benefit from having these additional business freedoms, which is a real boost for the town’s ambitions to become a centre of excellence for the UK energy sector, as well as being the home of the world famous illuminations.

“On top of this, by closing the economic gap between the North and South and attracting new businesses to the enterprise zone, it could secure the future of Blackpool Airport for years to come.”

The Blackpool Enterprise Zone will become a centre of excellence for the energy sector, with plans for a new Energy Headquarters, a dedicated new training facility to be developed by Blackpool and Fylde College, according to the government. It will be supported by a £6.2 million of Growth Deal funding.

The government said the aim is to provide job-ready students in engineering and advanced technology.

Other benefits include a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a five-year period and 100 per cent retention of business rate growth for the Local Enterprise Partnership, to enable them to fund development in the enterprise zone.

Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Edwin Booth said: ”As an Enterprise Zone specialising in energy, with the chance to develop other key sectors, the site offers immense commercial potential for both Blackpool andLancashireas a whole.

“The Local Enterprise Partnership is looking forward to working closely with its partners to maximise the wide range of opportunities this new Enterprise Zone will offer Blackpool, and also ensure it aligns fully with the Local Enterprise Partnership’s wider economic and regeneration strategy for the county.”