New 'enterprise zones' announced around England


The government has announced locations for new "enterprise zones" in England to try to boost economic growth.

Ministers said 30,000 new jobs would be created by 2015 by giving cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of planning control.

New zones were announced at sites including Cheshire, Essex, Cornwall, Gosport, Hereford and Humber Estuary.

They have been criticised by some, who argue that they will not create jobs but displace them from other areas.

Plans for 21 nationwide zones were originally set out in March's Budget.

Bids to host one of the zones were submitted by 30 local groups, made up of council and business leaders.

'Trailblazers for growth'

The enterprise zones previously announced were: Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Derby, Nottingham, the Black Country, the Tees Valley, the West of England and the North East.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We are determined to do everything we can to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

"Enterprise zones are a major step towards delivering this - cutting business taxes, easing planning restrictions and giving business the tools they need to invest and expand.

"These new enterprise zones will be trailblazers for growth, jobs and prosperity throughout the country."

The scheme has been compared to similar initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the transformation of London's Docklands.

But there was also criticism of the previous schemes, that they simply moved jobs rather increasing the total.

'Displaced jobs'

John Rider, chair of the West Midlands Institute of Directors, said: "I think the concept is reasonable but the reality was that they displaced people's jobs over the boundaries into the enterprise zones."

He said the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley, which opened in the 1980s, had "lots of good retailers but they did close local stores".

"Net new jobs? Probably a lot less then were claimed at the time," he said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said they were successful in some areas, such as the Docklands and Sunderland, but led to displacement and a flood of retail parks.

"This has the same name but it has got a slightly different purpose," he said. "These are about specific sites against specific industries."

He said the government hoped to achieve a "rebalance of the economy from public sector jobs" and a reduction of the "dependency on financial industries".

The complete list of new locations announced earlier was:

  • Daresbury Science Campus near Runcorn
  • Newquay AeroHub in Cornwall
  • The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus Airfield in Gosport
  • Rotherwas Enterprise Zone in Hereford;
  • Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent
  • Enterprise West Essex in Harlow
  • Science Vale UK in Oxfordshire
  • Alconbury Airfield in Cambridgeshire
  • Great Yarmouth in Norfolk
  • Lowestoft in Suffolk;
  • Northampton Waterside
  • MIRA Technology Park in Hinckley Leicestershire
  • Humber Estuary Renewable Energy Super Cluster

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