So, I'm pleased to see that the government has just announced the locations of the latest enterprise zones. There are going to be 21 enterprise zones in total and I think they're absolutely brilliant.
Basically an enterprise zone is an area where ultra high speed broadband is provided, where planning regulations are relaxed and where there are business rate and tax breaks worth up to £235,000. The basic idea is that they will attract new business to these enterprise zones and create new wealth and new jobs.
Business have been tried in the past, by Margaret Thatcher, but back then they were mostly ineffective and were more a way for the government to claim they were fostering growth rather than having any real practical value. For example, quite often the enterprise zones simply became retail parks - providing some jobs - but in the process they often put local retailers out of business so the actual net benefit was quite frequently minimal.
It's good to see that this government has apparently learned the lessons from the past. For example, the new enterprise zones are located where there are already some businesses and are going to be set up to encourage manufacturing and technology growth as opposed to just supermarkets.
Another brilliant aspect of this is where they are located. By locating so many of them north of the north-south economic divide then hopefully they'll go some way to restoring the historic economic balance between north and south. I should point out though, that the enterprise zones are only being introduced in England - this is because these kind of growth stimulating measures are devolved matters for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
All in all, hopefully these enterprise zones will attract investment and boost local economies across the country. They are exactly the kind of boost the economy need right now. My only regret is that a) there aren't more measures like this and b) that they're only being used now in the bad times when they could have been used in the good years when rebalancing the economy would have been much easier.