Thursday 24 March 2011

Cameron zones in

David Cameron is going to be wondering about Boots in Nottingham today where he’ll announce the location of four of the new “enterprise zones”.

There still seems to be a fair bit of confusion about what they are and how they’ll be different from the zones that Maggie Thatcher brought in during the eighties.

“No one thought they were a howling success the first time round,” said Margaret Beckett to me last night, who has been around long enough to know.

The key difference this time seems to be the “longevity” – local authorities will have the power to keep business rates from the zones for over 20 years.

That means it’ll be in their interest to develop them, promote them and get as many businesses into them as possible.

But the other problem with Thatcher’s zones was “displacement” – i.e. that businesses that were already in the area all jumped into the zone to get tax breaks leaving the area around the zone baron and robbed of its enterprise.

It’s still not clear how they’re going to get around that problem, which is basically intrinsic to the nature of any “zone” scheme.

Perhaps one of the bright sparks in Nottingham will put it to the PM today.


Oldrightie said...

Bright sparks in Nottingham? Mind you, I do agree it's a crap idea that will fill the pockets of quite a few Councillors and their ilk.

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