Minister gives Isle of Wight 'a fair hearing'

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, January 16, 2014


MORE delegations are planned to press the case for additional government funding for the Isle of Wight, following yesterday's (Wednesday) cross-party effort in Westminister.

An Isle of Wight delegation, made up of senior councillors, officers and Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner — who organised the opportunity — met with local government minister Brandon Lewis to call for financial support.

Among the issues discussed was extending a proposal for Assisted Area Status to cover the whole Island, following concerns only the north was included in the draft plan.

Cllr Stephens said: "We had a very fair hearing from the minister and it was especially pleasing that we were able to take a cross-chamber delegation from the council, with all representatives providing a valuable contribution to the discussions.

"The minister picked up on the key issues of Assisted Area Status and Enterprise Zoning, and also how there may be an opportunity for other areas of funding for pre-apprenticeship schemes on the Island.

"We explained to him fully the pressures we are facing both within the council and on the Island as a whole. It is too early to say what positive outcomes may result from our visit, but it was a very worthwhile exercise and we plan to send further delegations to Westminster in the future to promote the Island’s case.

"It appears at this stage that there will be no additional direct funding for the Isle of Wight Council, but we await the official confirmation from the minister in relation to this.

"I would like to thank all those who contributed to the visit and in presenting our case first hand to a senior government representative - in particular Andrew Turner for organising the meeting with the minister at short notice."

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