Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster today (Wednesday) welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget announcement to create a pilot Enterprise Zone in Northern Ireland.
The pilot Enterprise Zone, on a site adjacent to the University of Ulster Coleraine Campus where 5NINES, a leading global data centre development and consulting firm, have already announced plans for a £20million investment that will create some 15 jobs.
Enterprise Zones formed part of the ‘Building a Prosperous and United Community’ document, agreed with the UK Prime Minister last June.
Finance Minister 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.”
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster added: “Over many years the Executive has shown the priority that we attach to having a world class telecommunications infrastructure. This opportunity allows us to further exploit the extensive superfast fibre-optic broadband network available across Northern Ireland and the direct international connectivity that Project Kelvin provides to North America and continental Europe.
“Data centres are a strategically important piece of the telecommunications infrastructure and the Executive was keen to demonstrate its support for the proposal in an innovative way.
“Such investments can be crucial in the development of the ICT sector as a whole and will, without doubt, enhance the proposition Northern Ireland can offer to inward investors who are increasingly globally connected.”