Are the Government’s plans for boosting local economies really working?

The National Audit Office stated that local business plans have to prove that they have some value before it can be determined if the government scheme’s for boosting the local economies of England are actually working. According to the report published by the spending watchdog, the regional economies are not able to show that they actually offer value for money. Since the Coalition came to power in 2010 it has introduced Local Enterprise Partnerships, Enterprise Zones, Regional Growth Fund, and City Deals.

However, the National Audit Office explained that its job is to work on accountability. The Government on the other hand has said that it is plans to help boost local business have been working. George Osborne also made it a point to say in his autumn statement that local government plans have been working. One of the goals of the coalition when it took the office was to help free the red tape from business operations so that local enterprise could be fostered in England’s communities.

The National Audit Office estimated that the costs associated with the four schemes it has instituted is somewhere around £4bn over the last few years and the leading year into 2014-15. It said that there is some progress being made by Local Enterprise Partnerships but the rates vary and it is hard to put a number on the value that has actually been made for the hefty investment.

At first it was forecasted that the Enterprise Zones would help to create a significant amount of jobs totaled up to 54,000 by 2015 but now the number is expected to be a much lower 6,000 to 18,000 according to the NAO report. In addition, it found that many of the deals were slow to get started although they are still in early stages.