Boost for local enterprise

THE TREASURY has responded to a year of criticism of its regional growth strategy by devising more initiatives to boost local enterprise.

After swinging the axe at regional development agencies in summer 2010, George Osborne yesterday provided a £1bn top-up for the £1.4bn regional growth fund and offered 100 per cent capital allowance to enterprise zones in the Black Country, East Yorkshire, Liverpool, the North-East, Sheffield and the Tees Valley. The zones, first used with mixed success in the 1980s, were re-introduced in the spring after the publication of weak economic growth figures.

The chancellor will also extend the enterprise finance guarantee from January. Businesses with a turnover of up to £44m will qualify and new lenders will be added to the scheme.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect Britain from this debt storm while doing all we can to build the foundations of future growth,” Osborne said.