John Prescott says enterprise zones do not work
- 19 August 2011
- From the section England
The former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has cast doubt on whether enterprise zones will succeed in bringing new jobs to economically deprived areas.
John Prescott was responsible for regional development in Tony Blair's government and he admits to being sceptical about the new generation of enterprise zones.
Speaking to BBC Look North, Lord Prescott said: "They've been tried before under Thatcher. I didn't think they worked too well.
"They can create jobs, but sometimes firms just move from around the corner into an enterprise zone to get the rates etc. The problem is the government scrapped the regional development agencies, which did very well for Hull."
The government has just revealed the latest wave of new enterprise zones - the largest of which will span the Humber.
Business leaders say the Humber Enterprise Zone will create up to 5,000 new jobs in the renewable energy sector - a welcome figure in an area of high unemployment.
Sites in Hull and North Lincolnshire have been earmarked for the manufacture of wind turbines, from where they can be shipped to offshore wind farms in the North Sea.
Engineering giant Siemens has already named Hull as its preferred site for a turbine plant.
Thousands more jobs could also be created by smaller firms which will service the offshore wind industry.
On a visit to Hull, the Minister for Cities, Greg Clark said:
"People in this area have benefited from skills that are relevant here such as marine engineering and logistics that come with ports operation, so these skills are here and it's very important that people make the most of them."
Companies locating to enterprise zones will benefit from a number of incentives such as tax breaks, business rate discounts, simpler planning rules and the capacity for super-fast broadband.
Expectation is high that these areas can deliver job creation on a grand scale.
Anything less will be seen as a failure.