HC Deb 21 January 1985 vol 71 cc721-2
12. Mr. Coleman

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many jobs have been created in each of the enterprise zones, in Wales from their inception to the present date; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Stradling Thomas

The latest quarterly progress reports from Swansea city and Delyn borough councils indicate that some 1,430 jobs have been provided in the Swansea enterprise zone since its designation, and some 260 in the Delyn zone. The first monitoring report on the Milford Haven enterprise zone is currently in preparation. Overall, excellent progress has been made.

Mr. Ray Powell

At what cost?

Mr. Coleman

As my hon. Friend says, at what cost are the jobs being provided in the enterprise zones in various parts of Wales? Has the Minister considered the problem of businesses, providing jobs in towns adjacent to enterprise zones because they are collapsing? An example is a boot and shoe retail outlet in Pontcirdawe. How does what is happening square with the Welsh people's expectations of enterprise zones?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

It is wrong to draw comparisons between regional financial assistance and expenditure on enterprise zones which are experiments in removing burdens and barriers from businesses in addition to the ordinary industrial development activities such as site reclamation and preparation. Much has been done in the Swansea zone.

Regional assistance is available within enterprise zones, but it is not practicable to identify comparable expenditure in the two areas. The hon. Gentleman, as well as my right hon. Friend and I, are proud of the excellent work carried out by the Enterprise Trust in Neath.

Mr. Raffan

Does my hon. Friend agree that the number of new jobs created in the Delyn enterprise zone is particularly remarkable, since until recently only one and a half acres of the 190-acre site have been available for development? Does he also agree that now that the clearance of derelict land and the creation of vital infrastructure is near completion the zone is poised to take off in a significant way?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

I agree. The zone is comparatively new. The initial information augurs well and I trust that Delyn will benefit greatly and flourish.

Mr. Anderson

I believe that the Swansea enterprise zone has, on balance, benefited employment in the lower Swansea valley. May we have an assurance that the figures which the hon. Gentleman has given are in no way padded and that they take into account relocations and jobs which have been destroyed on the periphery of the enterprise zones?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

It is difficult to evaluate the figures. I take on board what the hon. Gentleman says and welcome his positive approach. I have no doubt that there has been a tremendous spin-off from the benefits of the enterprise zone. I am certainly not padding any figures.