Manufacturing centres including Derby, Huddersfield, Portsmouth and Scunthorpe have been added to the government’s Assisted Areas map, which sets out locations where local businesses can benefit from additional funding and tax breaks to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery.Other locations to be added include Leeds and Manchester, as well as coastal towns such as Arbroath, Blackpool, Hastings and Lowestoft, to help promote regeneration. Assisted Area status makes businesses eligible to apply for regional aid, which is typically offered as capital investment for businesses in less prosperous local economies. Programmes in England that offer regional aid include the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI). Large parts of north-east England, south Yorkshire, Merseyside, Strathclyde, the West Midlands and the Welsh Valleys were already on the map. “Assisted Area status can be a shot in the arm for growth and jobs across the UK,” says Business Minister Michael Fallon. “It makes local businesses eligible to bid for additional funding and support that can help them to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery, develop and grow.” Assisted Area status does not, of course, guarantee regional aid funding, but it helps give small businesses a boost when applying for support. The full Assisted Areas map is expected to take effect in July this year, after it has been formally approved by the European Commission.
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