Port Talbot Enterprise Zone proposals
Port Talbot could be designated as an Enterprise Zone by Welsh Government in a step to further assist the area against the impact of yesterday’s Tata Steel announcement.
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 following yesterday’s announcement that 750 jobs would 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.
Addressing the Assembly, Mrs Hart said:
“With the agreement of the First Minister, I have today written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer setting out our proposal to create an additional Enterprise Zone in Wales. 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 (ECAs). As ECAs are a matter for the UK Government, I have asked for the Chancellor’s early response as to whether the UK Government would be agreeable this.”
Tomorrow [20 January], Mrs Hart will chair a High-Level Task Force meeting and has invited representatives from the company itself, the trade unions, individuals to represent local authorities, the business sector, education, health, Careers Wales and other bodies that provide careers and job advice. The aim of the Task Force is to agree on next steps to help those directly affected by the announcement as well as providing support to the wider economy and steel industry.
Acknowledging the impacts are likely to be wider than just the workers being displaced, Mrs Hart added:
“We are determined to do all that we can to support the employer, its workforce and those in the local supply chain.”
“The steel industry is a fundamental cornerstone of our manufacturing sector. It sustains thousands of jobs and provides above average salaries, often in areas of below average income. Steel making is part of our heritage and we are committed to ensuring it is part of our future.”
Wales currently has seven Enterprise Zones focussing on different key sectors ranging from Finance to Manufacturing. To date, the Zones have created, assisted or safeguarded over 7,795 jobs in Wales and paved the way for further investment and development.
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