Will city be on new aid map?
THE new Secretary of State Theresa Villiers says she will need to talk to Investment Minister Arlene Foster about whether economic blackspots like Londonderry are going to be included in a new Assisted Area map for 2014 to 2020 due to be drawn up by UK Business Minister Vince Cable.
Between 2007 and next year a number of Assisted Areas in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the English North and the English Midlands have been receiving state aid from central government to redress regional disparities. All of Northern Ireland was categorised as an Assisted Area.
However, some have argued that this has been unfair. For example, a consultation document issued by Mr Cable last year stated: “This has resulted in relatively prosperous areas of Northern Ireland being eligible for aid when less well off areas in the rest of the UK (measured in terms of GDP per capita) have not.”
Now Ms Villiers has confirmed that she will talk to Mrs Foster about a new Assisted Area map to be drafted by December and how this might affect Northern Ireland.
She stated: “I have corresponded with the Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on assisted area status, and I am due to meet her later this week when we shall discuss it.
“Economic development is a devolved matter and the new regional area guidelines for the assisted area status are a matter for the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable).
“The Government have stated that when consulting on the new assisted area map, we will need to take account of factors particular to Northern Ireland and will work with the European Commission, along with other member states, to ensure that the new Regional Aid Guidelines (RAG) allows appropriate flexibility.”
The 2014-2020 UK Assisted Areas map is due to come into effect in January 2014. BIS will be working with the Devolved Administrations to consult on the new map in 2013. The map will be developed in accordance with the European Commission’s revised Regional Aid Guidelines for 2014-2020, a draft of which is due to be published in December 2012.
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Weather for Londonderry
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West