Gordon Marsden MP, Labour’s Shadow Business and Regional Economies Minister, commenting on the latest Enterprise Zone announcement, said:
“With 38,000 added to unemployment in the last three months alone, the enterprise zone proposal which even on the Government’s own highly questionable figures aims to create at most 30,000 jobs over an entire Parliament falls well short of the action, leadership and urgency needed.
“Britain’s economy has flatlined since George Osborne’s policies started to kick in. The Government is cutting too far and too fast, choking off the recovery and it has no credible plan for growth. It is still complacently describing Britain’s economy as a safe haven but the evidence for that claim is collapsing.
“There’s no foot on the accelerator - these zones have taken a year to be announced after the Government decided to scrap the Regional Development Agencies. And there is little petrol in the tank - the Regional Growth Fund is a fraction of RDAs investment and is hugely oversubcribed with more losers than winners. There are no resources or powers for the areas which don’t have Enterprise Zones, holding them back in driving growth. The Government is therefore asking a lot from this small number of zones - recent reports have shown that they weren’t cost-effective under Thatcher in the 1980s.
“That’s why Labour has called for a bank bonus tax to raise £2billion to create over 100,000 jobs for young people, build 25,000 affordable homes and to increase the funding available for regional growth. And the Government should heed the IMF’s latest warning - ‘slamming on the brakes too quickly will hurt the recovery and worsen job prospects' - and back Labour’s call for a temporary emergency cut in VAT to get the recovery back on track and ease the squeeze on families.”