Budget 2015: Enterprise Zone expansions announced

Osborne outlined an extension of the Enterprise Zones in Manchester and Mersey Waters, and plans to establish a new zone at Blackpool Airport, as part of eight Enterprise Zone changes across the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget said that: "The government will extend Enterprise Zones in Manchester and Mersey Waters, focusing respectively on logistics and healthcare, and on advanced manufacturing.

"After business case completion the government will also create a new Enterprise Zone at Blackpool."

The Manchester enterprise zone is at Manchester Airport, and will increase from 116-acres to 171-acres. The Mersey Waters zone incorporates Peel's Wirral Waters and Liverpool Waters schemes.

Sites in Humber, Tees Valley and Leeds will also be amended, alongside extensions to Leicestershire and South East zones.

At Blackpool Airport, the enterprise zone status will come into effect in January 2016.

There are currently 24 Enterprise Zones in the UK, which offer business rates relief, superfast broadband and simplified planning rules for occupiers.

Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council, said: "This is tremendous news for Blackpool and is exactly in line with what the Council has said about the airport site all along; it is a perfect place for investment and job creation.

"It has excellent transport links by road, rail and, of course, by air and now brings the benefits of an Enterprise Zone which, we hope, will help encourage businesses to invest.

"In turn, we're working with local training providers and educational establishments to give our local workforce the skills they will need jobs to seize these opportunities."

The Balfour Beatty-owned Blackpool Airport closed to commercial flights in October, and reopened in November for the use of small aircraft and helicopters only.

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