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Port Talbot Enterprise Zone mooted as response to steel industry job cuts

Words: Roger Milne

Port Talbot could be designated as an enterprise zone in a move designed to help protect the area against the impact of swingeing Tata Steel redundancies.

Economy minister Edwina Hart said the creation of an enterprise zone was a proposal being considered by Welsh Government to provide further potential support and investment to the Port Talbot area in the wake of this week’s announcement that 750 jobs will be lost at its steel plant.

But the move would require cooperation from the UK Government to provide the enterprise zone with the full package of policy levers, as enhanced capital allowances (ECAs) are a matter for the UK Government.

Zones also enjoy streamlined planning.

Hart told the Welsh Assembly: “An enterprise zone that encompasses the Port Talbot site would not only send an important signal to the industry, it would also create a growth environment within which other business and industry could flourish.

“However, for maximum impact, such an enterprise zone would need the full package of policy levers including enhanced capital allowances. As these are a matter for the UK Government, I have asked for the chancellor’s [George Osborne] early response as to whether the UK Government would be agreeable to this."

Wales currently has seven enterprise zones focusing on different key sectors ranging from finance to manufacturing.

To date, they have created, assisted or safeguarded over 7,795 jobs in Wales and paved the way for further investment and development.

Image credit | iStock