By Max Clarke
The entrepreneur and champion of British exporters William Chase has blasted Chancellor George Osborne’s plans for another set of Enterprise Zones as a ‘criminal waste of cash’ today.
The Chancellor announced a £100 million job initiative centred around ten new enterprise zones in a speech at Cardiff last week.
Mr. Chase is not alone in his criticism of the scheme, with a report published by the Work Foundation suggesting that significant job creation in depressed areas is unlikely, and that jobs created could cost £50,000 each. The scheme has also, however, been welcomed by the entrepreneur founder of Gu desserts, James Averdieck, as much needed government support for business.
“The Thatcher Government wasted huge amounts of cash on Enterprise Zones in the 80’s. They didn’t work then and I don’t see any reason why they should work now,” said Mr Chase.
Conservative Governments under Margaret Thatcher and John Major both displayed a penchant for creating Enterprise Zones and 38 were established between 1981 and 1996.
Two reports, both published before the Chancellors announcement, support Mr Chase’s view. The Work Foundation report highlights the Isle of Dogs Enterprise Zone in London's Docklands (now called Canary Wharf) which is usually held up as a glowing example of success.
According to the Work Foundation there were only 7,000 people employed in Canary Wharf at the time the enterprise zone expired — compared with 90,000 today. The key to success, it says, was investment in infrastructure (like the Docklands Light Railway) and not the enterprise zone.
“The Work Foundation’s report points out that 80% of jobs in enterprise zones have just been displaced from elsewhere and so they may bring short lived prosperity to one area at the expense of another,” said Mr Chase.
The report also concluded that and each job created was at a cost of £23,000. The second report, from the Centre for Cities, warned that 80’s style enterprise zones will simply not work in the present climate.
“Spending Government money on supporting British companies who are struggling to enter the export market would prove far more cost effective,” said Mr Chase.
William Chase is the founder of the Chase Distillery and Tyrrells Crisps. Chase Vodka was named the ‘Best Vodka in the World’ at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Chase Vodka sells directly throughout Europe, UAE, Australia, and Canada and has distributors in the US and China.