‘This will be a very small zone’

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Lib Dem spokesman Coun Ian Auckland said the proposed Enterprise Zone area was the ‘biggest economic boost to south Yorkshire in decades’ (Mar 24).

Apart from the fact that he must have missed the £700m investment which came with Objective One Status, promoted by the previous government and which returned substantial amounts from Europe to our area, never mind the major regeneration funding which helped support my constituency, he might also have done some work on what the enterprise zone will consist of.

It will be somewhere between 50 and 100 hectares – the site of the former Outokumpu complex was around 19 hectares. In other words, this will be a very small zone, in a very small part of the area.

If we are lucky, there will be jobs from inward investment (always presuming that existing companies don’t simply move in to take advantage of the small financial benefits which will accrue) and if those jobs are lasting, we will all rejoice.

However, anyone who knows anything about the history of Sheffield, the economic challenges we face and the likely scramble between the different parts of Yorkshire to get this small zone, would find the Liberal Democrats proclaiming this tiny initiative as something unprecedented in decades, to be a measure of their failure to understand the scale of what is happening to the people of our area.

David Blunkett.MP