Enterprise Zone status could benefit local business and industry by offering lower business rates and better terms on loans from Finance Wales. It is hoped the designation could help regenerate the local economy by attracting businesses to Port Talbot.
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 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.”
However, Tata Steel would not benefit directly from the move, says Aberavon AM David Rees.
He told the Magnet that Enterprise Zones are designed to offer incentives to attract new businesses to specific areas, and that the Tata site would not qualify for this kind of help.
However, he said the move could help other businesses in the town.
“It’s important to remember those outside TATA who will suffer as a result of these job losses. We need to support local workers and local businesses beyond the steel works as they face similar difficult challenges in the coming months. This decision impacts upon the whole town and all of our communities
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 encouraged further investment and development.