Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Enterprise Zones - what a good idea, let's have them everywhere

Now don't get me wrong, I really think that the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership should choose Bradford City Centre for its Enterprise Zone. However, I would also like to say again that if we believe that lower taxes and relaxed regulation encourages growth and regeneration then we should be applying this everywhere - even in picturesque market towns like Richmond (pictured above).

The government seems set on there only being a few and, as bureaucrats love, has set about a competitive selection process setting place against place, building up political resentment and offering an advantage to one poor place over another poor place.

The Government proposed an open competition for areas who want to bid to host one of the ten remaining Enterprise Zone spots to ensure the best possible applications come forward for these unique growth opportunities.

Local enterprise partnerships, which bring together local businesses and local councils, are expected to nominate specific sites that offer the best opportunity for growth. Applicants will have to show their prospective zone has genuine potential to create the new business and jobs they need, with positive benefits across the wider economic area.

We return again to area-baseds approaches to regeneration - narrowly helpful but politically devisive. What we really need is those benefits - simpler planning rules, lower business rates and investment in super-fast braodband to apply everywhere rather than just to a few chosen places.


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