The Welsh Government has revealed that it plans to create five enterprise zones targeted at the financial, energy, manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace sectors.
Within a letter to National Assembly members, Business minister Edwina Hart said: "As part of our economic policy agenda we will be introducing Enterprise Zones in Wales. However, let me be clear from the outset, this is not a replication of previous Enterprise Zones, which evaluation has shown had very mixed results. We will take a bespoke approach to each location and will deploy a selective approach to the policy interventions, using some in some locations and not in others. This is because we need to get best value from the very modest consequential funding of approximately £10m from the UK Government."
Hart added that the five enterprise zones as preferred locations for detailed development included:
- Anglesey – Plans are being put together to explore a zone for the energy sector
- Deeside – Hart said manufacturing was one of her priority sectors and "there are concerns about cross border displacement and increased competition in North East Wales" and she "will be working with partners to establish an Enterprise Zone at Deeside".
- Cardiff Central Business District – Working with Cardiff City Council, there are plans to create a zone for the financial sector around Central Station
- Ebbw Vale – Hart said she was keen to work with local partners to explore the potential for an enterprise zone for the automotive sector in Ebbw Vale
- St Athan – Hart has an aspiration to create a zone for the civilian aerospace sector
Hart concluded: "Whilst there is still a lot of detailed work to be done, including clarification with the UK Government on the detailed operation of capital allowances, my officials have already made a significant progress on some of these more detailed issues and this work will be brought to conclusion without delay.
"In taking forward this policy on Enterprise Zones, I am not losing sight of the very real economic challenges faced by other areas of Wales. Therefore, whilst these are the preferred locations, in the first stage, we remain open to opportunities as they arise in other areas of Wales where we are already in discussion with local partners."