Belfast Telegraph

Welsh enterprise zones impress Stormont's Finance Minister

By David Elliott

The Executive will continue to look at the feasibility of establishing enterprise zones in Northern Ireland, according to Finance Minister Simon Hamilton.

Speaking following a visit to Wales to see how a similar zone operates in Cardiff, Mr Hamilton said the move is a follow-on from a directive laid down by Prime Minister David Cameron in the Economic Pact.

It said the Executive should look at enterprise zones which offer "enhanced" capital allowances, tax allowances which are normally offset against capital intensive machinery and equipment.

"The visit to St Athan's enterprise zone, which specialises in the aerospace sector, enabled me to see a model including the infrastructure that is needed to support those businesses that have availed of development opportunities in growing their business," Mr Hamilton said.

"The aerospace sector is something that we are exceptionally good at, not in terms of just Bombardier but lots of smaller companies who feed into their supply chain."

He said he would see if the Executive could follow the Welsh enterprise zone's lead.

"I was impressed with how the Welsh government have been able to use the attraction of enterprise zones as a brand to arouse the interest of potential investors. I am keen to explore with Executive colleagues how we could do likewise in Northern Ireland," he said.

Belfast Telegraph