19/03/2014

NI Enterprise Zone Announced In Chancellor's Budget

Northern Ireland has been granted its first ever pilot 'Enterprise Zone', adjacent to the University of Ulster Coleraine Campus.

The announcement was made as part of Chancellor George Osborne's budget announcement this afternoon.

The pilot Enterprise Zone site is the location of 5NINES, a global data centre development and consulting firm that has already announced plans for a £20m investment that is expected to create some 15 jobs.

Enterprise Zones are a means to generative an economic boost by typically offering benefits through rates relief, access to broadband infrastructure and fast track planning approval.

The decision was first announced as part of the ‘Building a Prosperous and United Community’ document, agreed with the Prime Minister last June.

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, have welcomed the news.

Simon Hamilton said: "While the Northern Ireland economy is showing early signs of recovery there are still challenges ahead and by providing additional support, through a pilot Enterprise Zone, we can help to achieve the Northern Ireland Executive’s number one priority to grow the economy.

"Designating this Enterprise Zone in Northern Ireland is another tool to lever economic growth. It will enable the 5NINES project to benefit from the additional incentive of enhanced capital allowances, which allows them to claim 100% first year allowances for qualifying plant and machinery expenditure. This is particularly attractive to capital intensive investments such as this data centre."

(IT/MH)

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