North Devon and Torridge added to regional aid map.
BUSINESSES in Torridge and parts of North Devon could be in line for financial back-up through the Government’s Assisted Areas scheme.
Both have been mapped in the latest round of consultation to establish areas of the UK where regional aid and enhanced levels of Government assistance will be available to support disadvantaged economies.
Devon County Council said it ‘warmly welcomes’ the proposals, announced yesterday (Wednesday) by Michael Fallon, Minister of State For Business and Energy.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said the council had been working very closely with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and MPs to make the case for a significant increase in the areas of Devon that are covered.
He said: “The county council has been lobbying to ensure more of rural Devon and some of our market towns are included in this map to ensure they achieve the maximum benefit for the local economy from the support that’s available.
“There is an overwhelming case for the granting of Assisted Area status to the areas of our county included in the current draft because these local economies are still not performing as well as many parts of the country, but there are significant opportunities within these areas, which we have highlighted to Government.
“We will now be ensuring that we provide a sound response to help shape the final Assisted Areas Map for the next six years. This includes proposing the addition of further areas in North Devon.”
Torridge District Council leader Philip Collins said the council had spend a lot of time lobbying for Assisted Area Status for parts of the district, including Appledore; Bideford East, South and West; Torrington; Clovelly Bay; Hartland and Bradworthy; Monkleigh and Littleham; Northam; Orchard Hill; and Westward Ho!
He said: “This is particularly important to encourage our local businesses to grow and also to encourage inward investment.
“There is still further consultation ahead but the council will be continuing its efforts to ensure the status is applied to the area.
“If granted it will help enable significant better opportunities for the economy of the area and we certainly do need some help.”
The latest stage of consultation will be open until Friday, February 7.