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Andrew  Sissons

Enterprise Zones are no substitute for a coherent growth strategy

Authors: Andrew Sissons Nasreen Memon

05 March 2011

Commenting on today’s announcement on Enterprise Zones, Andrew Sissons, Researcher at The Work Foundation and lead author of the report Do Enterprise Zones Work? said:

'This new wave of Enterprise Zones is unlikely to create new jobs on a large scale. While you might see businesses moving into the zones themselves, we’d expect most of these to be taken from other parts of the country – the effect is similar to building a supermarket on the edge of town.

'Given the extremely limited budget for the new Enterprise Zones, it looks unlikely that the Chancellor will be able to offer any significant tax breaks within the zones. This may not be a bad thing – tax breaks tend to be ineffective and extremely costly. If we follow the same path we did in the 1980s, £100 million invested in Enterprise Zones could create just 2,000 new jobs. Instead, the new Enterprise Zones should focus on removing planning constraints and offering a good environment for businesses.

'With only 10 Enterprise Zones to be created, the government must ensure that they are put in the right places. They must be located in places with the potential to retain jobs in the long term, after the Enterprise Zones have expired. Ideally, they should also have good transport links, so that people from more disadvantaged areas can access new jobs. The new Enterprise Zones should also be much larger than their predecessors – perhaps covering whole towns – so that they don’t just move jobs from one place to another.

'Enterprise Zones are no substitute for a coherent growth strategy, which sets out a plan for re-balancing the economy. This government needs a plan for harnessing the commercial power of our universities, for reviving manufacturing and growing exports, for creating a world class innovation system. At the moment, we are a long way from seeing this, and the Budget must begin to address these issues.'


Notes to editors:

Andrew Sissons is the lead author of Do Enterprise Zones Work?, a policy paper from The Work Foundation. The full report is available at
Andrew Sissons is available for interviews and briefings.

The figure of 2,000 jobs is based on the figure, detailed in the report, that the Enterprise Zones of the 1980s cost £50,000 per job at today’s prices.

The Work Foundation is the leading independent authority on work and its future. It aims to improve the quality of working life and the effectiveness of organisations by equipping leaders, policymakers and opinion-formers with evidence, advice, new thinking and networks.
In October 2010, Lancaster University acquired The Work Foundation, forming a new alliance that will enable both organisations to further enhance their impact.

Media enquiries:

Nasreen Memon

020 7976 3507 or 07825 527 036

Andrew Sissons

07712 189608