Belfast Telegraph

Enterprise Zones continue to be on the agenda says Finance Minister Simon Hamilton 

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Finance and Personnel

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has said that Enterprise Zones will continue to be considered by the Executive following his recent visit to St Athan’s Enterprise Zone in Cardiff.

The Minister accompanied his Welsh counterpart Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM where he attended and spoke at a number of engagements setting out the similar challenges that face both Northern Ireland and Wales in rebuilding and rebalancing our economies.

Following his visit to St Athan’s Enterprise Zone Simon Hamilton said: “The Executive’s Economic Pact with the Government includes a commitment to consider the merits of establishing enterprise zones that would have the ability to offer Enhanced Capital Allowances in Northern Ireland.

“It is important that we examine and look closely at anything that might be able to boost our private sector and get our economy going. The Welsh have had seven enterprise zones operating for over a year now and they are targeting very specific sectors for growth.”

Visiting one of the enterprise zones Minister Hamilton said: “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. The aerospace sector is something that we, in Northern Ireland, are exceptionally good at, not in terms of just Bombardier but lots of smaller companies who feed into their supply chain. 

“It was important to see how the Welsh Government succeeded in using enterprise zones to bring in investment and new jobs. In Northern Ireland we want to see genuine new investment and expansion of existing companies.” 

Concluding the Minister said: “I was particularly 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 in concert with attractive measures we already offer on rates, telecoms and planning as well as working with HM Treasury to examine the benefits of Enhanced Capital Allowances.”

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