Enterprise Zones were first established in the United Kingdom in 1981. Without waiting to assess the policy the Government has declared both a second group of zones and its intention to establish freeports. This article shows that far from being innovative free-market initiatives, enterprise zones in many ways mirror traditional regional policies and are heavily dependant on state intervention. They have achieved little so far in terms of job creation or economic growth but are performing a wider ideological function by attacking local democracy and legitimating broader calls for lower industrial rates. Despite the Labour Party's national policy of opposition to the zones, many Labour controlled councils have been keen to see EZs established in their areas.