Wednesday 9 March 2011

Enterprise Zones

At this point, I don't have much to add on the public debate about Enterprise Zones. I share the concerns of the Centre for Cities and Work Foundation reports. As I said in my briefing for the election last year - at best the evidence on the effectiveness of Enterprise Zones is mixed.

A few thoughts on the debate. First, comparisons to other policies such as the Future Jobs Fund do not seem that appropriate when you see that those policies have different objectives and are spread across the country rather than focusing purely on very deprived areas. Second, and related, the appropriate cost effectiveness question is whether these are cheaper tools for shuffling jobs across locations relative to, say, Regional Development Agencies. Third, the fundamental question is whether spending large amounts of money to get firms to relocate to less productive areas is truly a growth policy.