By Claire West

In response to a report in the media that the Government will this week declare the UK’s twenty most deprived areas ‘Enterprise Zones’, Senior Researcher Tom Symons at Localism Think Tank the New Local Government Network (NLGN) said:

“It is encouraging to see the Treasury recognising the importance of local growth incentives but it begs a serious question about what this means for the government’s primary engine for local economic growth — LEPs.”

“To avoid a race to the bottom on business rates or the displacement of existing growth, the zones will need to fit within the new economic geography that LEPs represent rather than sit separately as a sort of gated business community. Building the zones into LEP arrangements would also head off tricky turf issues, whether on local accountability or relations with established local companies.”

”In the end, the win-win would be enterprise zones focused on attracting new investment, but with strategic support on infrastructure — such as transport and housing — to plan for longer term growth.”