Ellesmere Port clears first hurdle to becoming assisted area

Businesses are being asked to help support Ellesmere Port's case for gaining assisted area status which would help it win more grant funding.

Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership recently submitted an application to Government for Ellesmere Port to be granted Assisted Area status under the European Commission's Regional Aid Guidelines for 2014-2020.

The UK Government has welcomed the case for Ellesmere Port and agreed this should be developed further by working with local business to support a possible formal application to the European Commission.

Robert Mee, chairman of Ellesmere Port Development Board, said: "Assisted Area status provides an important opportunity for businesses in Ellesmere Port. The LEP in partnership with Cheshire West & Chester Council and the Ellesmere Port Development Board would like to invite businesses to join us to find out more and explore how businesses in Ellesmere Port could benefit from this, should our application be successful."

The Regional Aid Guidelines are issued by the European Commission and set out geographically where enhanced aid can be provided, particularly for greater levels of capital investment to private sector firms. For example much of the capital funding from Regional Growth Funding is provided via Regional Aid. This is not a funding source as such but heightened eligibility to access a range of funding. The EU sets a cap on the population covered by Regional Aid, with each Member State then having to draw a map of areas which will be eligible, with these areas frequently referred to as Assisted Areas. The new RAG rules allow for capital up to a maximum of 30% of a project cost for small enterprises and 20% for medium enterprises. Large companies will only be eligible for regional aid when they move into a new assisted area or develop a new product.

An event for business interested in hearing more is planned to take place between 8am and 10am on Wednesday 20 November 2013 at the Civic Hall, Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0AZ.

To register click here or send an email with your name and contact details to EllesmerePortSP@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

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