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In a speech to the Conservative Party spring conference in March 2011, the then Chancellor George Osborne announced plans for the creation of Enterprise Zones, to assist “the parts of Britain that had missed out in the last ten years.” The 2011 Budget and accompanying Plan for Growth announced plans for 24 Enterprise Zones. These became operational in April 2012.

Additional Enterprise Zones were created in 2015 and 2016. There are currently 48 Enterprise Zones in England.

In England, Enterprise Zones are geographically defined areas, hosted by Local Enterprise Partnerships in which commercial and industrial businesses can receive incentives to set up or expand. Businesses locating to an Enterprise Zone can be entitled to a business rate discount of up to 100% over a five-year period (worth up to £275,000 per business) or Enhanced Capital Allowances for the purchase of machinery and equipment, as well as benefitting from simplified planning laws.

Similar policies have been adopted by devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales; 4 Enterprise Areas spread across 15 sites are operational in Scotland, 7 Enterprise Zones are operational in Wales, as is 1 in Northern Ireland.

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