Lessons need to be learned from Enterprise Zones and Empowerment Zones

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There is a need to learn lessons when using spatially targeted fiscal experiments if intervention is to generate wider developmental benefit. For Enterprise Zone concept in the UK (1981–2007) and an exported variant to the US, the Empowerment Zone programme (1993–2009) lessons can be drawn to inform the latest wave of Enterprise Zones in England (2011 to current). Located in the context of regeneration and renewal efforts, it can be demonstrated that many potential historic and comparative lessons have not been learned. For example Empowerment Zones demonstrated the benefits of public pump priming rather than a simple deregulation of planning consents and taxes. Furthermore, gains are offered by promoting good governance and including the community in implementation, plus incorporating measures to address the consequences of structural economic decline such as unemployment and poverty will further help external costs to the public. This raises lessons to learn from, particularly if a disproportionate focus on economic growth in policy zones is too narrow for more efficient gains?


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