Island's push for economic help

By Ross Findon

Thursday, June 27, 2013


WORK that could lead to the Isle of Wight receiving millions of pounds in extra funding is underway.

The Isle of Wight Council, backed by MP Andrew Turner, has requested a meeting with Minister of State for Business and Enterprise Michael Fallon to push for the Isle of Wight to receive Assisted Area Status (AAS).

AAS can mean extra funding, support for businesses and communities and open up other opportunities for securing investment.

Following a meeting with Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable last week, Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder said she was positive about the Island’s AAS prospects.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Isle of Wight councillors and representatives from the Island’s Trades Union Council (TUC) — which has long called for the Isle of Wight Council to pursue AAS — met to discuss the issue.

In a statement issued today (Thursday) the Isle of Wight Council said the call for Island AAS was supported by organisations including Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Partnership of Urban South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Association of Local Councils (IWALC).

Council leader Cllr Ian Stephens said: "For many years I have believed that the Island should qualify for economic assistance to recognise the particular challenges we face, not least our separation by sea which can increase many business costs."

He said he was delighted to have support on and off the Island and that AAS would give the Island significantly more leverage to attract new businesses and help support existing companies.

The government is due to consider proposals for assisted areas for 2014 to 2020 and Mrs Bearder said she hoped the Island would be able to make a strong case. If agreed by the minister, final approval would need to be granted by the European Commission.

Mrs Bearder told the County Press the Island was now being considered on its own, rather than with Hampshire, which previously led to a distortion of the figures used by government to determine which areas would receive AAS.

"I think there has been a realisation that considering big regions leaves places like the Isle of Wight high and dry. I was very pleased to hear that recognised as it means that we have a good chance," said Mrs Bearder.

She said she hoped significant progress could be made by next month and was hoping to meet with the council, unions, charities and other organisations.

AAS campaigner and Cowes TUC chairman Bob Burton said: "We are delighted that this is moving forward. It is long overdue.

"We got no satisfaction with the Pugh regime."

Mr Turner MP said: "I am very pleased to add my voice to the council’s in seeking proper recognition from the EU of the unique challenges we face here on the Island. We all realise that this will be an uphill battle, but it is one that we must all fight together for the good of the Island."



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Displaying the last 10 of 18 comments - Show All Comments

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by Don Prescott

28th June 2013, at 14:42:46

"There is no point in becoming hysterical."

That is a bit patronising Mat.

If you think it is hysterical to want to stop donating £50 million a day to a bunch of crooks, whose 2 "leaders" are unelected, but who turn up at G8 Meetings as though they were, then so be it!

As MC, Alan and David have said, subsidies achieve nothing other than to prop up failing businesses (like that daft Cash Mob nonsense, which thankfully, appears to have died a death) and, in this case, an ailing economy.

Membership of the Corrupt Club, known as the EU, is bankrupting countries by forcing them to remain in a currency which cannot and will not survive.

As for the Lib Dems "pushing" for handouts - what else is new?

Can't wait 'til 2015 to see them get totalled!

When one takes the various subsidies to the logical conclusion, be it AAS or anything else

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by Peter Whiteman

28th June 2013, at 10:19:45

Please don't forget Cllr Harry Rees has pushed for this for years and without his input we would not of got this far !!! as the last tory bunch did'nt want to know.

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by Mike Crowe

28th June 2013, at 08:53:49

Good posting alan naylor

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by Mike Crowe

28th June 2013, at 08:52:14

""Why blight it with urban development that ignores the reality""

Yes, why?

"" Shooting ourselves in the foot is an understatement.""

Some people on this forum are shooting themselves in both feet!!

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by David Shoulder

28th June 2013, at 07:41:41

Subsidy invariably means attempting to cover up reality. It is expensive, inefficient and unsustainable because eventually subsidy will be withdrawn. We know the IOW has many advantages but also disadvantages - we need to fully recognise them. We can never have the infrastructure or cost base to compete with the mainland in manafacturing. Our USP - we are an Island destination. We are unique in our part of the world. We are potentially a tourist haven. Why blight it with urban development that ignores the reality. Shooting ourselves in the foot is an understatement.

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by alan naylor

28th June 2013, at 03:18:51

Its no use sitting on ones backside waiting for a handout thats never going to happen The island is a libility to the mainland as it cannot generate money in taxes therfor its not your money sir the biggest asset the island has is turism one of the most expanding trades thoughtout the modern world and in this regard the island has failed misrably mostly under consevertive councils when i bought my hotel from Mr Cawdell an ex counciler he said that if the island only got 1% of all the turist trade from the mainland the island would thrive even this target could not be met I noticed a photo in the county press of 2 boys with their Stolen Cart during the festival that will proberly be shoved into the river ps they cost $300 apeice

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by Mat Thomas

27th June 2013, at 19:33:46

There is no point in becoming hysterical. The challenge on Europe is about demanding what is ours and shouldn't be seen as alms. UKIP for example talk about withdrawal but at the recent election held no competent position on AAS.There are many on the left also agree with withdrawal from the EU.

The amount might not be as we would want because it depends on the Eurocrats definition of NUTS levels.In other words what tier we go in at. The reality is that Thanet, Cornwall and areas in the North of Scotland have achieved funding.

Funding from the government should also be viewed as disproportionate and unsustainable. There has to be a challenge here too.

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by Don Prescott

27th June 2013, at 18:56:08

I love these expressions like" whats the chance of getting money from the EWU?" and "EU funding".

What ARE you people talking about?

It is OUR money!
WE gave it to that corrupt gang of europrats!

STOP pleading for alms from these crooks and vote to get out of this den of thieves (IF you get a chance).

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by roger mazillius

27th June 2013, at 18:33:46

You could be right Mike but we really have to try!

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by Mike Crowe

27th June 2013, at 17:12:30

It will be a lot of very important looking work by a lot of very important feeling people for nothing. You watch.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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