Further to our update over the weekend about the Island’s interest in Assisted Area Status, this in from the council, in their own words. Ed
The Isle of Wight Council has, via MP Andrew Turner, sought a meeting with Michael Fallon (pictured), minster of state for business and enterprise.
At the meeting, an Island delegation will push the case for Assisted Area Status and for the Island to be viewed more favourably as an area requiring economic aid under a European designation called structural funding.
The Island‘s case is supported by organisations including the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, The Solent Local Economic Partnership, the Partnership of Urban South Hampshire and the IW Association of Local Councils. The IW Trades Union Council is also campaigning for recognition of the Island’s economic disadvantages.
Councillor Ian Stephens, Isle of Wight Council leader 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.
“I am delighted that this new push for recognition of these challenges is backed with support not just from our partners on the Island but from those in the wider southern region as well.
“While we will continue to support all the businesses that flourish here already and indeed work to attract other inward investment, our overall aim of stimulating the Island’s economy will be helped greatly if we are given Assisted Area Status or we have our distinct problems recognised by Europe. If we are successful in that, then there will be significantly more leverage for us to attract new business and commerce and also to help those already here to expand.”
The Island’s MP Andrew Turner 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.”