Pickles: enterprise zones pulling in foreign investment

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has insisted the government's economic development policies are working after Swedish automotive firm Haldex confirmed it was opening a new base at a Leicestershire enterprise zone.

Pickles said the safety systems specialist’s decision to locate a 2,250 square metre research and development centre at Hinkley’s MIRA Tecnology Park would bring 44 high-tech jobs to the area.

According to figures issued today by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the government’s 24 Enterprise Zones have so far only created 4,600 of the 30,000 new jobs they were originally projected to create by 2015, but the communities secretary said ministers were "focused" on backing the industries of the future.

"When international companies like Haldex invest here it shows we have got our offer right," he said.

"Every 20 seconds a car, van, bus or truck rolls off a UK production line and enterprise zones like MIRA Technology Park are magnets for the global motor industry with the best international businesses choosing them as their home."

Pickles said MIRA was now being seen the world over as an automotive centre of excellence, and was set to become the most advanced transport research and development centre in Europe.

Manufacturers Bosch, Ashok Leyland and Lockheed Martin have already located key parts of their global businesses at the 87.5-hectare park.

The DCLG said the government was investing £7.4 million in loans to fund infrastructure investment to help MIRA expand.

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