THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has failed in a bid to prevent scrutiny of the success of the seven enterprise zones it has set up in Wales. The Information Commissioner has given the Welsh Government a 35 day deadline to provide a breakdown of jobs created and retained in each of its enterprise zones. The Commissioner launched an investigation after Plaid Cymru appealed when the Welsh Government refused to disclose information on the seven enterprise zones it established nearly three years ago.
He found that the Welsh Government had ‘incorrectly withheld’ the requested information. Rhun ap Lorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy & Enterprise, said: “The Welsh Government has attempted to avoid scrutiny so this decision by the Information Commissioner is a victory for openness and transparency. But it should never have got to the situation where we had to complain to the Information Commissioner. “Plaid supports the enterprise zones and we want them to be a success.
It is nearly three years after they were launched and the public deserve to be told how many jobs have been created in each of them and how much investment has been made.” In a nine-page ruling, the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “The Commissioner is generally reluctant to accept arguments for withholding information based on the contention that disclosure might result in information being misunderstood, misinterpreted or that the media might seek to misrepresent the information in order to provide sensationalised news stories.
“The Commissioner’s view is that it is generally possible to offset the potential for this to happen by issuing an accompanying statement placing the information in context.” On November 28, Edwina Hart, the Welsh Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, announced the appointment of Stanley McIlvenny OBE to the post of head of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone Board. Mr McIlvenny has had a long career in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, most recently as Chief Executive of the Port of Waterford.