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Enterprise zones : emerging evidence and criticisms

Lloyd, M G (1986) Enterprise zones : emerging evidence and criticisms. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 12 (2). pp. 70-74. ISSN 0306-7866

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Enterprise zones were introduced in the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 and the Finance Act 1980. The concept was introduced as a radical, market based alternative to the prevailing conventional policies for regional development and urban regeneration. Thus enterprise zones were intended for areas "of economic and physical decay where conventional economic policies have not succeeded in regenerating self-sustaining economic activity" in order "to test as an experiment, and on a few sites, how far industrial and commercial activity can be encouraged by the removal or streamlined administration of certain statutory or administrative controls." Enterprise zones are seen by the government as a popular expression of its broad liberal market philosophy, and as experiments which would serve to illustrate how private economic interests would respond to the removal or rationalisation of government regulations and controls. This may be considered an early manifestation of the government's supply side approach, which sought to create conditions conducive to more efficient production. The introduction of the enterprise zone concept has prompted a considerable debate as to the likely effects of the experiment. This, in turn, has motivated this brief article which seeks to explore their impact by considering the latest evidence.