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Government challenged on enterprise zones

cleddauestuaryTHE WELSH GOVERNMENT was challenged by Plaid Cymru over enterprise zone performance following the release of key performance indicators for April- September 2015. These showed that a total of 793 jobs have been created and safeguarded against a target of between 1,400 and 1,900. Investment – a mixture of private and public sector investment and revenue capital – stood at £9.5m compared to a target of between £30m and £50m.

Plaid Cymru commented that ‘not a single hectare of land has been remediated for development.’ However, the Government target was 9,000m2, or less than a hectare. The news comes shortly after it was revealed that while large numbers of jobs are being created in some enterprise zones others like Ebbw Vale and St Athan created only a handful of jobs in the last year.

Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “Plaid Cymru wants the enterprise zones to be a success, both in terms of jobs and investment. “However, the half-year performance figures are a cause for concern and it is clear that the government needs to up its game to ensure the enterprise zones are a success. “It is disappointing that investment levels are well below target and only 19 business have been supported financially in the first six months of this financial year.” Rhun ap Iorwerth, who has written to the Economy Minister, said that he was also seeking clarification of a media statement made last month by a Welsh Government official referring to enterprise zones which stated that all of them “have to meet individual key performance indicator targets”.

But in response to a recent Freedom of Information request by Plaid Cymru, a Welsh Government official said “while we monitor progress routinely we do not produce targets at individual zone level”. The official said the government was committed to publishing individual zone performance aligned to programme targets on the enterprise zone website at the end of 2015-16.