Economic zones from the age of Thatcher to makea comeback in UK cities
Thursday 24 March 2011
Ed Miliband may think of the Chancellor as "Norman Lamont with an iPod", but Mr Osborne's announcement yesterday of new enterprise zones had more in common with the interventionist Lord Heseltine than the fiscally conservative former Tory chancellor.
Mr Osborne's embracing of enterprise zones marks the revival of a policy begun during another time of austerity – the dark days of 1981 when the Thatcher government faced riots in Britain's cities over its hardline economic policies. Mr Heseltine – humble Michael back then – launched the zones as part of his urban regeneration work as environment secretary and they were part of Conservative policies into the 1990s.
The idea is simple. Take a run-down area and offer tax incentives for companies to move there while relaxing planning laws so new buildings can be built quickly. Public funds for clearing derelict land and improving transport are also part of the mix.
Yesterday the Chancellor promised businesses 100 per cent discounts on rates, superfast broadband and the ability to use more generous capital allowances in zones with a strong focus on manufacturing.
In addition, local authorities hosting the zones will keep all business rate growth for at least 25 years to spend on development in return for relaxed planning.
London's Canary Wharf is the best-known and most successful enterprise zone. Despite its ups and downs, the project has turned desolate docklands into a thriving centre for financial services, shopping and leisure.
But other zones outside the South East have been seen as failuresbecause they targeted areas in long-term decline and created jobs that sucked in employment from other places until incentives ran out.
Richard Grass, head of public sector at Colliers International, the commercial real estate broker, said: "Confirmation of the reintroduction ofenterprise zones is a welcome sign that the coalition is focusing on growth as well as reducing public expenditure, although £100m will be spread fairly thin across 21 different zones over four years.
"To have any lasting impact these incentives need to be focused on areas with high growth potential and which can deliver near term employment rather than just shiny new buildings on derelict land."
In reviving Lord Heseltine's flagship policy, Mr Osborne is donning some one-nation clothes while doling out cuts that recall the harsher aspects of the Thatcher era.
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...
£400 - £450 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40-50K first year: SThree: The SThree group i...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...