Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science
On the 31st January 2012, I made an Oral Statement updating members on Enterprise Zones in Wales. As part of that Statement I outlined the innovative proposal received from Powys for local growth zones. I am now setting up a short-term Task & Finish Group to explore this model as an alternative approach to Enterprise Zones. It will consider the policy options to encourage and support jobs, economic growth and offer the opportunity of testing different types of interventions which are sensitive to Powys’ local economic circumstances and growth challenges. Specifically, it will consider the outline proposal from Powys for local growth zones and look at the specific issues affecting the key market towns of Brecon, Llandrindod Wells and Newtown.
I have asked to receive an interim report from the Group before the end of March 2012. I anticipate that there will be important findings from this Group which will have relevance to other parts of Wales. Therefore, I will ensure that lessons learned from this work are widely disseminated and inform our future work.
The Group’s membership will include expertise to reflect the specific areas of private sector business; rural economic development and regeneration and small businesses in key sectors such as manufacturing, tourism and retail. I am delighted that Justin Baird-Murray Managing Director and owner of the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, has agreed to chair the group. He will be joined by Janet Jones, Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales; James Gibson-Watt, a mid-Wales businessman and retailer; John Gallagher of Control Techniques Ltd; Hannah Barrett, Chair of Mid Wales Manufacturing Group and Wynne Jones, Powys County Council. Sue Balsom, a member of the Micro-business task and finish will have an advisory role in regard to this work.