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Enterprise Zones

Volume 983: debated on Thursday 24 April 1980

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15.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the progress of discussions he has had for the creation of his proposed enterprise zones.

My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently consulting the local authorities named in the Government's policy document. The Government will make a final announcement about sites in the summer.

Is it not a measure of the interest in this proposal that local authorities up and down the country are clamouring to be designated as enterprise zones? In view of the substantial and exciting opportunities that these enterprise zones offer, will my right hon. Friend ensure that as soon as the sites have been selected every means of communication to business and industry is used to bring the opportunities home to those who make investment decisions?

Is the Minister aware that unemployment in the Northern region is approaching 140,000 and that, in effect, that was once the national figure? If the Tyne-Wear area succeeds in getting one of these enterprise zones, would it not be more appropriate to rename it a resuscitation zone?

I had hoped that the hon. Member would be rather more charitable in welcoming this innovation.