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‘Government inaction will cost Wales dear’ – Kirsty Williams AM

January 17, 2012 5:29 PM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has condemned the Welsh Labour Government over its continued deferring of decisions regarding the future of Wales' Enterprise Zones.

In the Senedd today, Kirsty Williams criticised the First Minister for once again failing to make the big decisions that the people of Wales need.

Kirsty Williams AM commented:

"Last week I asked the First Minister about any progress being made on enterprise zones. He couldn't answer the question then. This week, rather bizarrely, he seemed to know even less.

"His Government is still unable to set the boundaries for the Enterprise Zones that were announced last year. The Labour Government seems unable to comprehend that business is about competition. Just across the border, Hereford have their Enterprise Zone boundary defined, with benefits including relief on business rates, as well as the relaxation and fast tracking of the planning process. Bristol also has its 173 acre boundary defined, with particular focus on the creative industries. As for Wales, yet again we are left dawdling behind with the Welsh Government still unable to offer us any information regarding our own Enterprise Zones.

"The First Minister uses capital allowances as an excuse for his failure to provide any sort of plan for Welsh Enterprise Zones. They are one aspect of putting together Enterprise Zones, but by no means the only aspect. In large part they are about improving the planning regime and introducing business rate discounts - both of these areas are actually devolved.

"England announced Enterprise Zones back in March 2011. The Welsh Government announced Enterprise Zones a whole six months later, after we had already lost a £355 million Jaguar Land Rover plant deal to an Enterprise Zone in England. Being six months behind is bad enough, but if the Welsh government doesn't pull its finger out, Wales will slip even further behind. It is so frustrating to watch a Government that is so willing to simply play catch-up."