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Enterprise Zones

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th September 2011.

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Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Conservative, Croydon Central 2:30 pm, 5th September 2011

What plans he has to designate further enterprise zones.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

The Government have authorised 22 enterprise zones. We do not have plans to appoint any more. However, local enterprise partnerships can confer many of the advantages of enterprise zones without reference to central Government.

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Conservative, Croydon Central

I warmly welcome the £20 million that the Government are giving to the Mayor of London to support enterprise in Tottenham and Croydon in lieu of the designation of an enterprise zone. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that that money will not be ring-fenced in any way? Will he meet a delegation from the Mayor’s office and Croydon council to discuss how else the Government can support the regeneration of Croydon in the light of what happened a month ago?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

First, I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the leadership he has shown in the community of Croydon in the wake of the riots. I am pleased to give him the assurance he seeks. The money will be unring-fenced and can be spent in the way that the people of Croydon think best. I am happy to meet such a delegation and I think that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be visiting Croydon this week.

Photo of Joan Walley Joan Walley Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

When asked on BBC Radio Stoke why Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire was not selected as an enterprise zone in round 1, the Prime Minister, standing in Stoke-on-Trent, said:

“Look, you’re not missing out on an enterprise zone, there will be an enterprise zone within the Stoke and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership…and there will be one in this area and we’ll be advised by the Local Enterprise Partnership about where it should go.”

The local enterprise partnership did advise, but we were not on the list. The map boundaries have not changed, and we are not part of the black country. What support will the Government now give to provide the enterprise investment that is needed, and will the Minister look again at our being included?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

I understand the hon. Lady’s disappointment that that particular bid was not approved, and I would be very happy to meet her to explain why. However, there is some consolation in the fact that 90% of the black country’s enterprise zone is located in the Stoke and Staffordshire area, so there is some good news for the regeneration of her area.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

Can the Minister explain why part of Leeds should be an enterprise zone, but Bradford should not be and neither should Shipley? Indeed, can he explain why the whole country should not be an enterprise zone?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Our ambition is to make the whole country an enterprise zone, but we go one step at a time. The answer to my hon. Friend’s question is that the decision was made by the local enterprise partnership. Unlike the previous round of enterprise zones, these ones were not picked in Whitehall. It was for the local enterprise partnership to designate where it thought the zone would work best.

Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham

There were two areas in London bidding for an enterprise zone prior to the riots: Tottenham and Croydon. Neither was granted enterprise zone status, but we were given a £20 million fund, for which I am grateful. However, it cannot be right that of Tottenham’s £10 million fund, £8 million should go to Tottenham Hotspur football club. I want to support the football club, but we will need far more regeneration in Tottenham if we are to see the kind of turnaround that we need in the poorest area in London. Will the Minister meet me to discuss how we can move forward?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Having paid tribute to my hon. Friend Gavin Barwell, I pay tribute to Mr Lammy for his leadership in Tottenham. He knows that the funding is available to Tottenham, as indeed it is to Croydon, and I would be very happy to meet him to discuss how it is going to be spent.