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Enterprise Zone experience offers little evidence £100m business park can deliver 1500 jobs

Welsh Conservative Leader – Andrew RT Davies – has today called for evidence to support Welsh Government claims that a new automotive business park in Ebbw Vale can deliver 1,500 new jobs for the region.

The ‘standalone’ project was announced as ministers controversially rejected proposals for the Circuit of Wales.

Mr Davies cited the Welsh Government’s “poor track record” in creating new jobs in this part of Wales.

The Blaenau Gwent Enterprise Zone managed to create just 172 new jobs between 2011-14, with the latest figures for 2014/15 suggesting that just 8 new jobs were created over the year.

Mr Davies said the figures were “pathetic” and generated little confidence that anywhere near 1,500 proposed jobs over 10 years.

The comments came after he raised the issue in First Minister’s Questions today.

Speaking outside the chamber, Mr Davies said:

“This investment is welcome, but I find it hard to share the First Minister’s confidence that money alone is any kind of guarantee that a project will be successful, and what concerns me is that the Labour’s Party’s record on job creation in this area is very poor.

“We’ve had an enterprise zone in Blaenau Gwent since 2011, but just 8 jobs were created in 2014/5, which is a lamentable record.

“How can we possibly have confidence that this new scheme can deliver anywhere near the 1,500 jobs they claim? We need to see evidence that the scheme hasn’t been announced without proper work going in to it.

“The Circuit of Wales has been a Labour car crash of epic proportions.

“After so many years of uncertainty and false hope, it’s clear that the Welsh Government has plenty of questions to answer.”