North Staffordshire misses out on Enterprise Zone status

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17 Aug 2011

The Government’s decision to overlook North Staffordshire’s bid to become an Enterprise Zone has dealt a serious blow to hopes of generating new jobs and kick-starting economic recovery in the area, Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly said today.

Mr Farrelly he was very disappointed that the application for a three-site Enterprise Zone - taking in Keele Science Park, locations in the Etruria Valley and the former Creda works at Blythe Bridge – had lost out in the announcement of 11 new zones.

Sites that are designated as official Enterprise Zones benefit from cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of planning control.

Eleven zones - including sites in Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle on Tyne – were named in the first wave announced by the Government this spring.

A bid to create a zone based in North Staffordshire was submitted by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership in the second round of applications and was strongly endorsed by Mr Farrelly as an important attempt to stimulate growth and jobs.

“Thebid was soundly argued and could have unlocked significant benefits, not least in attracting new businesses, helping existing firms to expand and in creating jobs which North Staffordshire desperately needs,” Mr Farrelly said.

“The application was also based on the evidence of previous success, particularly at the Keele Science Park, which is helping to generate the kind of higher skilled and better paid jobs that are so important to the future of our area,” he said.

“I am saddened that this Government has again overlooked the merits of the area, which can only make it harder for us to stimulate economic recovery.”

Successful bids announced in the latest round include sites in Warrington, Cornwall, Gosport, Norfolk, Hereford, Kent and Oxfordshire. Other locations include Essex, Suffolk, Northampton, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire and the Humber Estuary.