Business Secretary Matthew Hancock told the Courier exclusively that if the Tories gain a majority government after the General Election, he will establish an enterprise zone in Halifax to give a boost to local industries.
“Over the past five years, enterprise zones have helped grow jobs and bring investment to areas where they have been set,” he said.
“After strong campaigning from Philip Allott, we’ve committed to bringing an enterprise zone to Halifax.
“Unemployment has dropped by a third in Halifax and there have been 3,000 new businesses since 2010, but we don’t want to rest on our record and we think that Halifax has a strong future if Britain sticks to the plan.”
Having been to 100 businesses in 100 days, I've heard how recovery has helped them expand & create jobs. Don't put that at risk tomorrow— Matt Hancock (@MattHancockMP) May 6, 2015
Businesses operating within the enterprise zone will get relief on taxes including business rates; extra support from the government and the Local Enterprise Partnership; and the ability to fast-track planning applications.
Mr Hancock said: “We’ve had great success with these in other parts of the country - they give a boost by making it easier for businesses to grow.”
Mr Hancock said what kinds of industries will be in the enterprise zone will be up to the people of Halifax, but said that Halifax has a strong history of manufacturing and could see the benefits felt by that sector.
He said: “We need to back British manufacturers. Given the growth recently, and given the history, there’s a big opportunity for an enterprise zone to take Halifax forward.
“It will give us the framework for the investment that everyone wants to see.”
Philip Allott, Conservative PPC for Halifax, said: “It’s really positive - it makes a big statement that there’s a lot of effort being put in in terms of regeneration.
“I’ve been pressing ministers for a long time now to get some inward investment and now the government’s come good and we’re actually going to do it.”
Holly Lynch, Labour PPC for Halifax, said: “Having worked for a company in Halifax, I know how tough the past five years have been for businesses.
“Yorkshire Forward and Business Link disappeared almost overnight when the Tories took office, so it’s a bit late - less than a week before the election - to start making promises.”