Twelve of Pendle’s 20 electoral wards are on the new draft map proposing areas of the UK to be classed as “Assisted Areas” and eligible to receive regional aid – the first time Pendle has been included.
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.
Regional aid is typically offered as capital investment for businesses and programmes that offer such support include the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative .
The current Area Assisted status map drawn up under the last Government in 2007 includes parts of Blackburn, Hyndburn and Burnley, but no part of Pendle.
The new map would be in effect from 2014 to 2020, and Pendle Council and local MP Andrew Stephenson have been lobbying hard for parts of the borough to qualify.
The areas of Pendle on the draft map are Bradley, Cloverhill, Walverden and Whitefield (Nelson), Brierfield, Reedley, Barrowford, Blacko, Foulridge, Earby, Coates (Barnoldswick) and Old Laund Booth (Fence and Wheatley Lane).
Mr Stephenson said: “Area Assisted status would be a real boost to jobs and growth in the Pendle area, so I am delighted to see that 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.”
Pendle Council Leader Coun. Joe Cooney 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 goes ahead this will be a huge boost for Pendle.
“Across the UK, Area Assisted status areas have received an additional £2 billion of support over the last six years, so that underlines just how important this is to Pendle.”
A final map will be submitted to the European Commission for approval in March.
The consultation runs until February 7th and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/assisted-areas-map-2014-to-2020-stage-2