Four new enterprise zones to create 18,000 jobs in east

Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles Image copyright bbc
Image caption Eric Pickles is confident enterprise zones will create new jobs

The government has announced its plans for four new enterprise zones in the east.

Alconbury Airfield near Huntingdon is to be developed; there's a joint site for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft; Harlow in Essex has been named; and there's to be a riverside development area in Northampton.

The Communities and Local Government Secretary and Essex MP, Eric Pickles, launched the scheme from Harlow, saying that he was confident enterprise zones would help to create new jobs.

"It's part of a series of measures to create employment," he said. "It's about aspirations. In Harlow it's about medical technology and high quality jobs."

'Vote of confidence'

Businesses in the four zones will receive a boost worth millions of pounds which, it is hoped, will create thousands of jobs in the future.

If these sound familiar, it's because they are. First tried in the 1980's, there have been criticisms that enterprise zones failed to deliver long term jobs.

"We have learned the lessons of past enterprise zones but this is about advanced planning and specific planning," added the Communities Secretary.

Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow said: "I am delighted we have been awarded enterprise zone status by the government.

"This is a vote of confidence in Harlow. It is good for jobs, and good for our town. There will only be a limited number in the country."

Job prospects

Brandon Lewis welcomed the decision to grant enterprise zone status to Great Yarmouth.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Brandon Lewis MP hopes Great Yarmouth enterprise zone will attract investment

"It will attract investment and put the east coast on the economic map," said the Conservative MP for the town.

"That our bid was successful is a testament to a government that is interested in and understands and cares about our unique concerns rather than only thinking about the big urban cities."

The four areas will receive £51m in tax breaks. It's hoped the extra activity should generate 18,000 jobs between them.

Today's announcement coincides with a rise in the region's jobless total.

It has gone up by 10,000 to 6.5% of the workforce.