Hopes soar for Pendle business boost

Lancashire Telegraph: Colne is one of the towns which should benefit from the new cash Colne is one of the towns which should benefit from the new cash

PENDLE could benefit from millions in extra Government funding after the borough was provisionally awarded Area Assisted status.

The Government yesterday published a draft map which would see 12 wards in Pendle included for the first time.

They appear alongside 18 wards in Blackburn with Darwen, four in Hyndburn and 12 in Burnley, which remain from the 2007 review.

Assisted Area status permits the granting of additional Government financial support to small businesses and large enterprises in economically disadvantaged locations, but with high growth potential.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “Area Assisted status would be a real boost to jobs and growth in the Pendle area, so I am delighted to see ministers have listened to the case we made.

“However, this is not a done deal and I will be working hard to ensure that these parts of Pendle now remain in the new maps at the end of the current consultation.”

Regional aid is typically offered as capital investment for businesses and programmes that offer such support include the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

Today’s new map would be in effect from 2014 to 2020, if it is approved following a consultation which ends on February 7 next year.

Coun Joe Cooney, Pendle Council leader, said: “Having put together a robust economic case to the Government I am pleased to see that they have agreed with us.

“The maps defining the areas last for six and a half years, so if what the Government has proposed today goes ahead this will be a huge boost for Pendle. Across the UK Area Assisted status areas have received an additional £2bn of support over the last six years, so that underlines just how important this is to Pendle.”

A final Assisted Areas Map will be submitted to the European Commission for approval in March 2014.

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