BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable visited Sheffield to discuss details of how plans for a new Enterprise Zone will boost the local economy.
He told how the coalition wants to “rebuild manufacturing” in areas such as South Yorkshire by making life easier for companies through relaxation of red tape and tax relief within the new zones.
He met Sheffield Council leader Paul Scriven and cabinet member for business, Ian Auckland. Mr Cable also spoke to James Newman, chairman of the new Local Enterprise Partnership which brings together councils and businesses around South Yorkshire. Mr Cable also called in at Coda Architects, on Mowbray Street.
The minister, visiting the city to support the Lib Dems’ election campaign, said: “Growth is going to be private sector-led and, in big cities such as Sheffield, manufacturing is at the heart of it. Enterprise Zones are a way we can provide incentives for companies to invest.”
Mr Cable said there was a challenge in terms of a “missed generation” in South Yorkshire without manufacturing experience after the closure of industry in the 1980s and early 1990s but that apprenticeships are set to be made available to help bridge the gap.
Mr Cable responded to Labour critics of Enterprise Zones who said one in the Lower Don Valley during the 1980s simply led to businesses migrating from neighbouring areas. He said the Government would learn from experience to ensure such problems were not repeated.
Mr Cable added extra help was being made available for businesses who could bid for a share of a £2.5 billion fund being set up by banks to help small businesses, or £900 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow minister for children and families, Sharon Hodgson, visited a session of Sport in the Park, at Ecclesfield Park, to meet families and discuss how they are coping with cuts.