Earlier this year I wrote to the Minister of State for Business and Energy to urge that consideration should given to the proposal submitted by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) that parts of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft should be included in the Assisted Area Status (AAS) Map, as part of the new EU funding period 2014-2020. With the help of Peter Aldous MP, I was successful in getting a large number of his parliamentary colleagues to sign the letter in support.
The letter emphasized the compelling case for AAS designation, as the wards that the NALEP proposed should be included in the Map have very high levels of deprivation. Working in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Partnership New Anglia; Local Authorities; the East of England Energy Group and his fellow Members of Parliament, Brandon continued to lobby for Great Yarmouth’s inclusion within the map.
Assisted Area Status permits the granting of additional financial support to small businesses and large enterprise in economically disadvantaged locations. This support is to encourage business in these communities to grow, innovate and thrive. The final AAS Map is now out for consultation and I will now be working to ensure that that his constituency remains a core component of it.
Inclusion within the Map will build on the existing incentives of the Enterprise Zones, Local Development Orders (outside of the Enterprise Zones) and the two ports designation as a Centre of Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE). At present four out of the six designated CORE areas have Assisted Area Status (AAS, though they if they all Assisted Areas, they will be better placed to realise their full potential and United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) will be able to promote them as a single entity globally.
This is fantastic news; EU funding through AAS could help unlock jobs across our Borough and allow us to really push forward in revitalising our local economy. It would be another piece in the economic jigsaw, which is being constructed by our pro-active Government. Once again after 13 years of empty words of a failing Labour Government, Great Yarmouth is once again being put on the economic map.
We can’t rest on our laurels, however. I will continue to work to ensure that we stay in the final document.