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Enterprise zone concerns are valid.

HE concerns raised by Tony TMann about the effect of the Government's new enterprise zones - which he says are simply forcing firms to switch location rather than attracting new investment from outside the region - are legitimate.

His own business, Oceana Group, is in a particularly unfortunate position, its land lying just outside the enterprise zone boundary yet still on the banks of the Tyne where investors are being enticed.

It is not just the firms that have jumped over the boundary in order to benefit from the tax breaks and relaxed planning regime; those companies seeking a site by the river will inevitably be tempted to choose a site in the zone.

It is unfortunate that the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership was not able to extend the enterprise zone, but inevitably the border had to be drawn somewhere. Owners of business premises elsewhere in the North East which are also unable to offer potential tenants the kind of incentives offered in the zone no doubt share Mr Mann's frustration.

It is a characteristic of any such industrial policy that winners and losers are created. Presumably businesses in the South look enviously at the PS170m handed out to North East firms from the Regional Growth Fund this week for much the same reason.

It may not be perfect, but the enterprise zone does at least seem to be delivering some significant economic benefits. And for that we should be grateful.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2012
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