Enterprise zone could be extended

CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer George Osborne is to consider extending the enterprize zone lined up for the north east to include the Port of Blyth in a bid to generate more jobs in south east Northumberland.

Berwick MP Alan Beith has welcomed the support pledged for Northumberland and in particular the possibility of extending the north east enterprise zone to include land around the port.

Sir Alan has been pushing for the extension since the closure of the aluminium smelter at Rio Tinto Alcan’s Lynemouth plant was announced last month.

Mr Osborne said in his autumn statement on Tuesday: “Capital allowances of 100 per cent will be available to encourage manufacturing and other industries into the zones in Liverpool, Sheffield, the Tees Valley, Humber and the Black Country.

“Those allowances will also be available to the north eastern enterprise zone, and we will consider extending to the Port of Blyth to create new private-sector jobs there.”

Sir Alan said: “I warmly welcome the Chancellor’s support for the plan to extend the north east enterprise zone into Northumberland which I put to ministers last week and to which they have responded very quickly.

“It is one of the measures which will help to build private-sector jobs in Northumberland, where we face overdependency on public-sector employment and the potential loss of jobs at the Alcan smelter.

“The government has been ready all along to help ease the impact on Rio Tinto of carbon targets, but the company were simply not interested.

“The government has also made it clear that they are prepared to talk to any credible potential buyer, but we do have to prepare for the possibility that no buyer will come forward.”