European funding boost agreed

By Ross Findon

Friday, May 23, 2014


THE door to millions of pounds in extra funding for the Isle of Wight has been opened today (Friday), after it was confirmed the European Commission had approved Assisted Area Status for 28 electoral wards.

It marked the end of a 15 year battle to return the funding designation, after it was taken away from the Island in 1999.

The status will allow businesses across the Island to benefit from additional funding and tax breaks from July this year, for the next seven years.

MP Andrew Turner said: "It is a tribute to the Isle of Wight pulling together and I would like to pay particular tribute to Cllr Ian Stephens the leader of the Isle of Wight Council for all the hours he has put in and to Cllr Harry Rees, who represented the Isle of Wight Association of Local Councils during the negotiations."

The designation came following last month’s confirmation by the UK government that it had approved the Isle of Wight’s bid for AAS.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, who was involved in discussions about the bid with Secretary of State Vince Cable, said: "There is no doubt assisted area status will provide much help and investment, stimulate growth and create hundreds of jobs."

Steve Butler, of the Isle of Wight Trades Union Council — which has long campaigned for AAS — said businesses now needed to make the most of the opportunity and develop proposals to secure investment.



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by Derek Tyler

23rd May 2014, at 17:56:16

To clarify it was Solent LEP who put in the bid for AAS.The other organisations could only lobby.You will get the POLITICOS trying to take the credit for this.Local politicians!

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by Iain McKie

23rd May 2014, at 16:53:49

Plans....were also announced. Sorry.

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by Iain McKie

23rd May 2014, at 16:50:17

This week the European Commission also announced that it is awarding €19.7 billion to Greece, €27.5 billion to Germany and €87.6 billion to Poland. One in every eight euros will be paid for by the UK. Also announced were plans for an EU funded €4 billion rail project from Finland, €450 million in rural spending in Romania, and 3 EU funded gas pipelines in Bulgaria (on top of the additional €1.5 billion it was awarded last week). Plans for the EU Energy Union which will stop the UK negotiating its own gas deals was also announced.

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by Colin Russell

23rd May 2014, at 15:32:38

This money should be for all the Island, the Island is not that big if you can "Walk the Wight"

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by Don Prescott

23rd May 2014, at 15:00:35

Worst of all is the dinosaur VTC Harry Rees who said “To qualify for both Assisted Area Status and structural funding one has to meet the EU Commissioners’ Guidelines”.

It is OUR money!

The picture is even worse if you live in Shanklin, Sandown, Ventnor, Yarmouth, Godshill etc, where you will get nothing, as those places are not in the 28 "chosen wards".

Of course the local politicos will say that is untrue, but they are the same people who published election leaflets which said they would not put up parking charges.

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by Don Prescott

23rd May 2014, at 14:56:35

Mat Thomas said on a previous story about this issue “The challenge on Europe is about demanding what is ours and shouldn't be seen as alms.”
which is absolutely right.

The problem is when you have cross party support who endorse giving £5 million a day to the corrupt EU, to get back a couple of million now and again..

Council leader Cllr Ian Stephens said: "For many years I have believed that the Island should qualify for economic assistance”

Tory MP Turner said: "I am very pleased to add my voice to the council’s in seeking proper recognition from the EU “

Mrs Bearder (for the moment a Lib Dem MEP, but not for much longer) 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.
Worst of all is the dinosaur

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by Keith Goodchild

23rd May 2014, at 14:41:19

We shouldn't have to ask for the vast sums of money we have paid in already...however I do hope it starts to help the island which is always overlooked by central government.

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by Scott Robinson

23rd May 2014, at 14:39:57

Of course, I expect all those business owners who have voted UKIP will be refusing this EU money?

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by Mat Thomas

23rd May 2014, at 13:46:12

I must say, Stephen Butler has been a wizard in all of this, the Trades Unions, after 15 years of various people (including the council) as well as sceptics, have managed to establish some large funding that goes a long way towards filling the gap in equity we are witnessing at this time.

The Trade Unions have long fought for the necessary capital inward investment to provide decent paid jobs on the island.

The MP, Turner, has done nothing to assist the process or help the negotiations. Only now, in the face of the elections, does the Tory want to join the bandwagon, where as before he was reluctant to get on.

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by Den Young

23rd May 2014, at 13:43:06

we will see, more rubbing of hands

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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