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Assisted area status awarded across region

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The government has revealed which parts of the UK have been awarded assisted area status, with 308 wards named across the North West.

Assisted area status forms part of a European Union scheme which focuses on opportunities to drive growth in less advantaged economies. Businesses in the area will be eligible for extra funding and tax breaks to grow, invest and ultimately create new jobs. Regional aid can be accessed through programmes such as the Regional Growth Fund, the Business Premises Renovation Allowance, and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.

There are 308 wards that have been granted assisted area status, with 61 in Greater Manchester, 88 in Liverpool city region, 87 in Lancashire, 62 in Cumbria, and 10 in Cheshire West.

On 31 July 2013, the government launched a consultation on updating the assisted areas map for 2014 to 2020, in response to new European Commission guidelines on regional aid. The last time the assisted areas were reviewed was in 2007.

Robert Hough, chairman of Liverpool city region local enterprise partnership, said: "This is fantastic news for the city region. The LEP alongside partners put a powerful case for assisted areas to Government and I am pleased that this joint working has had the desired result.

"Although recent figures show our economy is growing well we are still not performing as strongly as many parts of the country, but we have significant opportunities which we highlighted to Government. Having assisted area status now means we can capitalise on these opportunities and unlock further potential for job creation and growth."

The assisted areas list is still subject to European Commission approval and is expected to take effect from 1 July.

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