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Enterprise Zones

Volume 281: debated on Wednesday 17 July 1996

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what benefits accrue to an area from its designation as an enterprise zone; and if he will make a statement. [36070]

The benefits available to businesses during the 10-year life of an enterprise zone are the following: 100 per cent. allowances for corporation tax purposes for capital expenditure on industrial and commercial buildings; exemption from the national non-domestic rate on industrial and commercial property; a simplified planning regime; speedier administration of residual statutory planning controls; exemption from industrial training levies and from the requirement to supply information to industrial training boards; processing of applications for certain customs facilities as a priority, and the relaxation of certain criteria; and the reduction of Government requests for statistical information.Since the EZ scheme was introduced in 1981, the Government have developed a range of alternative schemes to promote regeneration and growth. These are generally better targeted and can be implemented more rapidly than the enterprise zone scheme which, in part as a result of EC regulations, can take up to three years to designate. Enterprise zones can affect economic activity over a wide area through displacement effects and are not the appropriate regeneration measure in most circumstances. In December 1987 the Government announced that the enterprise zone scheme would not be extended other than in exceptional circumstances.