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Friday, 14 December 2012

Newquay Aerohub (lack of) Enterprise Zone

The Newquay Aerohub gained Enterprise Zone status in August 2011.

At the time we were promised over 1000 new high level jobs over the next five years.

15 months later or one quarter of the way into the five year promise there seems to be around 80 jobs at the Aerohub - less than 10% of the promise. (Always provided, of course, that these are in fact NEW jobs and not jobs simply moved to Newquay to take advantage of the lower business rates on offer?)

The Aerohub was heralded as a fantastic boost for Cornwall by Cornwall Council and the LEP, with promises of many highly skilled jobs.

It seems that they need to get on with meeting their promises if the vaunted benefits are to be delivered. In the remaining 75% of the project's five year plan they still need to deliver well over 90% of the promises.

Is this just another example of the 'same old, same old' broken promises. Or will there be the ritualistic brushing of the failure of past headline grabbing claims under the carpet when the outlandish projections don't materialise?

Those cynics who thought that the aerohub enterprise zone was just another expensive way of covering up the lack of real business opportunity and market need at Newquay Airport are probably beginning to mutter the words "Told you so!" right now.

What we need from Cornwall Council, The LEP and the Cornwall Development Company is some real action. Some intervention to help not just to provide subsidies for the bigger businesses in Cornwall but myriad small interventions to boost the opportunities for real Cornish businesses to see through these challenging times or to get started.

We need to begin at the small end helping one, two or three people create prosperity and leave the high visibility, CV building projects to the well paid managing directors of the companies who have the skill and ability to deliver them without part time help funded by our council tax and government schemes.

More of the money spent on business develoment should go to SMEs and less to the administration of the LEP and CDC.

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