By Daniel Hunter
Regional aid is typically offered as capital investment for businesses in less prosperous local economies, given assisted area status. Programmes that offer regional aid include the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).
Assisted area status is not a guarantee of any regional aid funding. Businesses in other parts of the country can still receive support, including from RGF and AMSCI, for a wide range of projects through other forms of state aid.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said:
“We are seeking views to ensure that the map is fair, and support is particularly targeted where it can drive growth. Key factories and sites ripe for development in areas where investment is most needed have been prioritised, reflecting advice from Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities."
“Much of the support the government offers to business does not rely on regional aid, but we have identified areas where it can potentially be enormously beneficial to businesses looking to invest in new premises or machinery.”
The draft map is now subject to consultation. This follows a previous consultation in the summer, which revealed broad support for the government’s approach. The earlier consultation specifically asked Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Local Authorities (LAs) for local intelligence to inform the development of the draft map. LEPs, LAs and others now have the opportunity to suggest specific changes to the proposed map.
A final Assisted Areas Map will be submitted to the European Commission for approval in March 2014.
The consultation runs until Friday 7 February 2014 and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/assisted-areas-map-2014-to-2020-stage-2