A scheme which is expected to create over 800 jobs in Doncaster is set to be extended. Mayor Ros Jones' cabinet has confirmed it will put more cash into the pilot Business Investment Incentive Scheme, which dishes out grants to help attract companies to invest in the borough, when the initial £1.5 million funding runs out. She and the cabinet backed the scheme after experts revealed the project, which aims to attract businesses to set up in the borough, had so far created 564 jobs since 2014, with 95 of those skilled positions paying £23,000 or more. She said: "I want to see schemes like this creating jobs and skills in Doncaster."
Council figures show the scheme had brought in £39 million worth of initial new investment from businesses, in a total of 15 projects, and is expected to bring in £1.1 million a year in business rates. Projects still in the pipeline at the moment which are expected to go ahead as a result of grants are expected to create another 264 jobs, with 192 of those paying £23,000 or more. They would involve £692,300 in grants, council officers have revealed. The Business Investment Incentive scheme was set up as a discretionary scheme for Business Doncaster, the economic development arm of Doncaster Council to offer developers, investors and businesses a financial incentive to invest and grow their businesses. It does not apply to companies moving onto enterprise zones.
A report which was placed before Mrs Jones stated: "The scheme, along with the collaborative work across teams, has helped bring major investment opportunities to Doncaster - maximising re-development opportunities as well as job creation and bringing properties into use”.
The scheme is being promoted and administered by Business Doncaster to support investors across all areas of the borough. The council has not divulged details of investors it has worked with due to confidentiality issues.
Approving the future use of funds to extend the scheme, Mayor Ros Jones said “the figures showed how successful the project had been in the number of jobs and skilled jobs it had created”.
Cabinet member for business, Coun Bill Mordue added: "This is a discretionary grant scheme launched in 2014 - it is not just given to anyone." He said the scheme had led to three foreign owned companies producing in Doncaster.
Backing the scheme, the council's chief finance officer Steve Mawson said “the authority is looking at it as a long term project and added changes in 2020 would see the council keep more of the business rates generated. He said: "It is not all plain sailing, and we don't give grants to everyone. There are careful considerations to make sure we're investing in additionality, not in companies that would come to Doncaster anyway. It is also about making sure we have considered all forms of support. We will be coming back in the summer with proposals for keeping the scheme going forward."