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Government finalises Assisted Areas Map

Words: Roger Milne
Cornwall - Assisted Area

The UK government has published its proposed final version of the Assisted Areas Map (AAM), which has now been sent to the European Commission for approval.

Assisted Area status allows the granting of additional financial support to small businesses and large enterprises in what the Commission terms "less economically advantaged locations".
The government has been consulting on which areas should be designated under these arrangements, which govern the provision of EC-approved regional aid.
Some parts of the UK qualify automatically for Assisted Area status.
Typically, this is because the GDP per capita is less than 75 per cent of the EU average or the area in question is sparsely populated with a population density below 12.5 persons per square kilometre.
The following areas are involved: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; West Wales and the Valleys; Caithness & Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty; Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh; Arran & Cumbrae and Argyll Bute and Eilean Siar.
In addition, the whole of Northern Ireland is designated.
Business minister Michael Fallon has stressed that the AAM, which covers the period from June this year to 2020, is designed to "facilitate the geographical and sectoral rebalancing of the UK economy".
He explained: "The UK's industrial heartlands are central to the map. The map also facilitates the continuing urban regeneration of many town and city centres that anchor local economies and communities.
"A range of places will benefit, including core cities and coastal areas looking to diversify their business base in sectors such as the marine and offshore."