An extra £40 million to help create jobs and economic growth is to be pumped into “enterprise zones” including those in the West Midlands, Ministers have announced.

The cash will be shared between 18 projects including three in Birmingham.

Enterprise Zones are overseen by local authorities and are designed to attract new businesses.

Firms can enjoy full business rate relief for five years, worth £275 000, while planing rules are relaxed, making it easier to build new developments.

Government funding is also available to provide infrastructure to support businesses, such as better transport links and high-speed internet access.

Ministers had previously announced a £60 million infrastructure fund but this has now been increased to £104 million, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

Projects which will benefit include the Masshouse site in Birmingham city centre, which will be a mixed site with commercial premises and residential homes. Funding will be spent partly on creating an attractive public square.

Arena Central in Birmingham city centre, a 9.2 acre site which is to house offices, shops and a hotel, will also benefit. Funding will be used partly to help pay for the demolition of existing buildings.

And funding will also go to the Argyle Works project in Digbeth, where a warehouse on Great Barr street is being converted into a new data facility to help provide ultra-fast broadband to city centre businesses.

Mr Pickles said: “Enterprise Zones are stimulating job creation and economic growth in different parts of the country with their special package of incentives to attractive new business ventures.

“The Government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure Enterprise Zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up. Enterprise Zones are proving extremely popular.”