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Rates boost for new Scottish enterprise zone businesses

Businesses in new enterprise zones will be able to claim up to 100% rates relief as part of new incentives to stimulate investment in the economy.

Other measures announced by the Scottish Government include "swift" planning procedures, improved broadband, targeted capital allowances and international marketing.

The details follow the creation of four enterprise areas across 14 sites in Scotland, focusing on manufacturing, life sciences and low-carbon renewable energy sectors.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said he wants the "most competitive" environment for business in the UK.

On a visit to Dundee port, he said: "We are doing all we can to support jobs and secure new investment in our communities, and enterprise areas are another means to help us achieve this.

"To help stimulate private investment we have established a range of incentives including business rates discounts, new planning protocols, an international marketing campaign to target overseas investors and a commitment to deliver next-generation broadband to these sites before 2015."

The four areas, announced in January, will include a life sciences zone taking in parts of Irvine in Ayrshire, along with sites in Moray, Highland, Edinburgh and Midlothian.

Two low carbon and renewables areas were proposed: one in the east for the ports of Dundee and Leith, and a north area focusing on Hatson and Lyness in Orkney, Arnish in the Western Isles and Nigg and Scrabster in Highland.

The fourth area, for manufacturing, takes in the Creative Clyde waterfront area of Glasgow and Prestwick International Aerospace.

The rates relief could be worth up to £275,000 over the five years of the enterprise area scheme.

Enhanced capital allowances will be available instead of rates relief on plant and machinery at Dundee, Nigg and parts of Irvine.

Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports which owns the port of Dundee, said: "The location of the port, with its deep-water capability and land availability, makes it attractive to the offshore renewables manufacturing industry and we continue to progress a number of strong inquiries from companies keen to locate at the port.

"This is a great example of the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council and the private sector working closely together to bring these important opportunities to Dundee."

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