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Flintshire businesses call for Welsh enterprise zones

With unemployment rising and business confidence falling, Wales’ economy is still struggling to pull out of the downturn.

122,000 people here are now jobless and our unemployment rate is above the rest of the UK.

In fact Welsh firms are more likely to fire than hire according to the Institute of Directors in Wales.

The IOD’s Robert Lloyd Griffiths said the Welsh Government must reverse the economic decline by modernising Wales‘s transport links, skilling up the workforce and putting the private sector at the centre of economic renewal.

Disappointing is how the Business Minister Edwina Hart described today’s unemployment figures. She said the Welsh Government is reviewing the best way to support businesses to protect existing jobs, and where possible create new ones.

And one way the Welsh Government can help is through Enterprise Zones, say business and community leaders in Flintshire.

The county, bang on the border with England will be surrounded by Enterprise Zones which are already in the pipeline for near neighbours Warrington and the Wirral.

Flintshire businesses fear when the competition is up and running inward investment could stop at the border. What’s more, companies already set up in the county could pull out for better terms and incentives elsewhere.

Askar Sheibani CEO of Comtek in Deeside says Wales is lagging behind and Enterprise Zones are not just about money, but a key selling point to potential investors.

Meanwhile the Federation of Small Business in Wales says we must learn from the mistakes of the 80s and adopt a new model. It favours Enterprise Zones not just based on geography but also on the Welsh Government’s key industries Sector approach.

The Minister meanwhile doesn’t believe Enterprise Zones will solve all of Wales’ economic woes and with just 10 million pounds of UK government money earmarked over the next five years that’s unlikely to make a significant impact.

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Discussion

7 thoughts on “Flintshire businesses call for Welsh enterprise zones

  1. Enterprise zones are not the answer. Research in the 1990s found that 80% of the jobs “created” by enterprise zones are actually taken from neighboring areas (see Papke, “What do we know about enterprise zones?”, 1993). An enterprise zone in Flintshire would just pass the misery along to Wrexham and Deeside.

    The few jobs they do create come at immense expense to the public purse: creating one minimum-wage job in an enterprise zone costs £40,000 from the loss in tax revenue (see PA Cambridge Economic, “An Evaluation of the Enterprise Zone Experiment”, 1987) — for the cost of a single minimum-wage enterprise zone job, you could not only create a skilled job through direct investment, but have money left over to send the worker through university-level training!

    Posted by stlemur (@stlemur) | September 14, 2011, 6:33 pm
    • The new enterprise zones are offered on a different model and Wales has the opportunity to refine that further if it wishes. However you can’t escape the fact that ready to go sites will be needed and in the current climate there needs to be a catalytic effect to create jobs.

      Posted by Matt Wright | September 14, 2011, 7:08 pm
      • Yes, and absolutely nothing about the past six years gives me any reason to think the private sector is willing to be that catalyst, no matter how “incentivized”. Instead of handing public money to them — which will be used as an excuse for more cuts in public services, deepening the recession — and expecting them to do the job, we need to do it ourselves and public investment is the way to do it. It worked after the War and it will work again.

        Posted by stlemur (@stlemur) | September 14, 2011, 10:01 pm
    • Thanks for your interest and comments. It is certainly an interesting debate and it would be good to reflect your views in our coverage. WG isnt hurrying into EZ -still reviewing- and CBI do not believe they are a cure all either. Keep in touch Regards,

      Carole

      Sent from my iPhone

      Posted by Carole Green | September 14, 2011, 10:25 pm
      • Leanne Wood AM’s office expressed an interest in the current research on enterprise zones when they were proposed in Wales and I send them a packet which included the above documents and some others as a starting point. The two key recent reports are the Work Foundation, “Do Enterprise Zones Work?” from February 2011; and Industrial Communities Alliance (Wales), “Tackling Worklessness in Wales” from July 2011. The former paper’s figures aren’t inflation-adjusted from 1992, though, so it severely underestimates the cost of EZ job creation.

        Posted by stlemur (@stlemur) | September 15, 2011, 11:31 am
      • This is an issue will be returning to so thankyou for the documents and your contributions. I will follow them up.

        Carole

        Sent from my iPhone

        Posted by Carole Green | September 15, 2011, 1:53 pm
  2. There is a solution here if we all work together and I am encouraged by a new understanding of the issues from all concerned. We need to bear in mind that it’s not just that boundary counties are hit hard by EZs in England but that we also need to cooperate to have a much more responsive offering to investors as competition is tough worldwide. So we can’t avoid the fact that key strategic sites offer a practical opportunity to move quickly to create jobs. Such job creation can deliver for the whole of north Wales.

    Posted by Matt Wright | September 14, 2011, 7:02 pm

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