FOI reference: FOI/17/02376
Date received: 16 October 2017
Date responded: 10 November 2017
a statement as to the reasoning behind Custom House's exclusion from the enterprise zone
contact details of the person in charge of deciding the boundaries of the zone
On your first point regarding the Custom House's status in relation to the adjacent Enterprise Area (Enterprise Zone is the term used in England), I feel it may be helpful if I provide you with some background to the Scottish Government's Enterprise Area policy. Enterprise Areas focus on a small number of locations which have clear sectoral definitions that determine eligibility for support in areas such as rates relief and streamlined planning, based around manufacturing or production related activities. In the case of Leith Enterprise Area, that focus is on the Low Carbon / Renewable Energy sectors. Further information is set out at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Economy/EconomicStrategy/Enterprise-Areas/assessment with the summary Leith site information on page 22 of the Preliminary Site Appraisal at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0038/00387875.pdf
Rather than being excluded from the Leith Enterprise Area, Custom House was not included as it was not considered suitable for the large scale Low Carbon / Renewable Energy development which Leith was targeting. It is worth noting that even if Custom House had been included in the Enterprise Area any business or charity operating from within the building, such as those in the creative arts or retail sectors, would not have been eligible for support.
This is because all Enterprise Areas with Business Rates Discounts have a qualifying use restriction which confirms that even if the Custom House had been within the red lined Leith Enterprise Area boundary, only the uses detailed in the Non-Domestic Rates (Enterprise Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2016 would be able to benefit from the rates saving. The relevant extract is set out below:
PART 2 - Activities giving rise to eligibility for business rates relief in the Low Carbon/Renewables East Enterprise Area and the Low Carbon/ Renewables North Enterprise Area
The design, fabrication, manufacture and assembly of components required for the generation of renewable energy by the technologies described in Schedule 2 of the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2009, including foundations and substructures (fixed or floating), towers, blades and nacelles, and research and development connected to those activities.
On your second point, as with all Scottish Government policy, all final decisions taken on Enterprise Areas, including the number and locations of sites, were taken by the Scottish Ministers.
I think it may be helpful if I provide some advice on non-domestic rates relief, an incentive available to encourage private investment at Enterprise Area sites.
While your business would not benefit from this incentive if it was situated within Leith Enterprise Area, it may be eligible for non-domestic rates relief under the Small Business Bonus Scheme. Full details on the eligibility for the relief and how to apply can be found in the following link: www.mygov.scot/business-rates-relief/small-business-bonus-scheme.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House