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Local businesses boosted by assisted areas announcment

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:59 30 April 2014

North Devon Council leader Cllr Brian Greenslade, economic development manager Ellen Vernon and Cllr Malcolm Prowse celebrate the assistaed areas announcement

North Devon Council leader Cllr Brian Greenslade, economic development manager Ellen Vernon and Cllr Malcolm Prowse celebrate the assistaed areas announcement

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Nick Harvey MP welcomes inclusion of 11 North Devon wards while Torridge is also covered

North Devon MP Nick Harvey has welcomed Wednesday's announcement North Devon MP Nick Harvey has welcomed Wednesday's announcement

LOCAL businesses are set for an extra boost after Torridge and parts of North Devon were added to the ‘assisted areas’ map.

The announcement of the status means that 1,500 businesses in Torridge and key wards of North Devon, including Barnstaple and Ilfracombe, will receive enhanced levels of government assistance up to 2020.

The 11 North Devon wards highlighted on the new map is a considerable increase from only two on a draft map published in December 2013.

North Devon MP Nick Harvey, who has since worked to press business secretary Vince Cable to include more of North Devon on the map, called it ‘extremely welcome news’.

“Business Secretary Vince Cable visited North Devon in November last year and heard first-hand from some of our leading manufacturers just how much it would benefit North Devon. I’m glad he was persuaded of our case and has today delivered a boost that recognises the needs of our area.

“North Devon may have some of the lowest average wages in the country, but we have a uniquely strong manufacturing sector: assisted area status now means we can unlock its potential for job creation and growth.

“With an improved and expanded assisted areas map, businesses like Actavis and TDK Lambda will now see important projects go ahead to secure their future - meaning more jobs for local people and vital overseas investment. This is good news all round.”

North Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade, who wrote to Mr Cable last month appealing for more North Devon towns to be considered, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the news. North Devon Council has been very active in lobbying for this, together with our MP Nick Harvey, and we are very grateful to Vince Cable MP for coming to North Devon to discuss this with us late last year.”

North Devon Council’s Executive member for economic regeneration, Cllr Malcolm Prowse, said: “This is great news for the 1,500 businesses that are now included in the map!”

The news that around 80 per cent more of the county’s population would now be covered by the new map compared to the old one was also warmly welcomed by Devon County Council.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council cabinet member for economy and growth, said: “This is fantastic news for Devon. Devon County Council has been working very closely with the heart of the South West LEP, MPs and government departments to make the case for increasing eligible government assisted areas across Devon.

“In particular we made a very strong case for Government help for North Devon and it’s encouraging that they have listened to what we said.”

The map is subject to European Commission approval, which is expected by the end of May.

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