Gloucestershire 'enterprise zone' failure 'no reflection on business'

Gloucester Docks
Image caption The county's bid focused on Gloucester and Cinderford

Gloucestershire's failure to secure an "enterprise zone" for the county is not a reflection on local businesses, the government has said.

Earlier, the government announced 21 locations for enterprise zones in England in an effort to boost economic growth.

Gloucestershire's bid focused on Gloucester and Cinderford.

But Communities Minister Bob Neill said the county could still benefit from other job-creating projects.

"It's no disgrace to Gloucestershire at all, they did hard work, I know that," he said.

"And what I'd say to them is do not be discouraged.

"We are working with local enterprise partnerships and local councils beyond the enterprise zone projects, for example giving councils the ability to discount business rates to attract businesses into the area, giving the ability to set up simplified planning regimes."

Plans for 21 nationwide zones were first set out in March's Budget.

Zones have been confirmed for sites in Cheshire, Cornwall, Gosport, Norfolk, Hereford, Kent and Oxfordshire.

Other locations include Essex, Suffolk, Northampton, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire and the Humber Estuary.

Ministers said 30,000 new jobs would be created by 2015 by giving cheaper business rates, super-fast broadband and lower levels of planning control.

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