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Attwood calls for Enterprise Zones in areas of economic disadvantage

SDLP Belfast Council Group brought forward a motion to Belfast City Council to call for the development of Enterprise Zones across the city were unemployment rates are high after their success in other parts of GB. 

Cllr Tim Attwood said: 

“It is important that Belfast City Council considers every financial instrument to create jobs, grow the economy and support those disadvantaged communities. Enterprise Zones, Manufacturing Zones and simplified planning zones have been used in Scotland and England to promote housing, business and industry. These zones can offer business rates discounts and additional tax breaks, backed by a simplified local planning process which can support businesses, help budding entrepreneurs to start up and assist established companies to grow.

Tim Attwood added: 

“In 2016, the NI Executive supported the creation of the first 'Enterprise Zone' in NI, the Atlantic Link Campus in Coleraine which attracted the global data centre firm 5NINES following a £20 million investment. The big question is why other enterprise zones have not been considered for other unemployment hot spots across the North?

“It is important that Belfast City Council undertake research, scope out and develop options for the development of enterprise, manufacturing and simplified planning zones in Belfast to support local economic development. There is an excellent opportunity to investigate the possible development of an enterprise zone along the interface corridor from West to North Belfast. These interfaces were devastated during the Troubles and require special economic measures to support them. We have seen Belfast City Council, Invest NI and EU support the Innovation Factory on the Forthriver site, a pioneering innovative and creative space. We need more investments like this and Enterprise Zones offer that potential.”