In the summer Budget we announced the opening of the bidding round for a new wave of enterprise zones throughout England. This round will focus on ensuring that all places in England can benefit from the programme, including rural areas where appropriate, and the Government encourage towns and districts to work with local enterprise partnerships to develop bids. Details of the application process will be released in due course.
I thank the Chief Secretary for his answer. I can advise that, in Corby, we are busily getting together to put in a bid. Corby is also taking in very considerable housing growth. Does he agree that areas that are taking in such growth should also receive the benefit of new jobs and new infrastructure?
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. He is of course right. During the course of the previous Parliament, the performance of the programme improved, and it was absolutely right to create strong incentives for local areas to take part. That was consistent with our long-term economic plan. We are looking forward to examining his case for an enterprise zone in his Corby constituency in due course.
When the Government come to review the success of enterprise zones, especially those in the last wave, which includes one in my own constituency, will the Chief Secretary undertake to ensure that job creation becomes a major focus of enterprise zones as they are rolled out across the United Kingdom?
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. Job creation is vital in the enterprise zone programme. Over the course of the previous Parliament, the programme supported more than 15,000 jobs, which brought in £2.1 billion of private investment.
I thank my hon. Friend for that question. The Government have opened up the bidding round for new enterprise zones, and are encouraging LEPs to work with towns and rural areas to develop new sites. The bidding round is open to all LEPs across England, but only those sites with strong commercial propositions and value-for-money cases will be accepted.