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Enterprise Zones

Volume 532: debated on Monday 5 September 2011

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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?

Having paid tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon Central (Gavin Barwell), I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Tottenham (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.