As you may recall, MEP for the region, Catherine Bearder, has been making enquiries on behalf of the Island about Assisted Area Status. Former Isle of Wight councillor who has in-depth knowledge of the workings of EU funding and guidelines, Harry Rees, sets out the facts for OnTheWight readers. Ed
It is interesting to read all of the comments on the subject of Area Assisted Status.
I have led on this issue for many years. It is essential that everyone is aware of the obstacles the Island has to overcome if such funding is to materialize.
Island must meet the EU guidelines
To qualify for both Assisted Area Status and Structural Funding one has to meet the EU Commissioners Guidelines.
At present the Isle of Wight does not meet such guidelines with one exception and that is the Island could be classified as a 107 3 c “non defined area” in respect of Assisted Area Status, and could be included if the UK Government chose to do so.
However this funding falls well short of what the Island deserves and requires.
Regional standing within the EU
The Isle of Wight Council have requested an urgent meeting with the Minister responsible.
Top of the Agenda will be the Island’s current regional standing within the EU, i.e. the Isle of Wight coupled with Hampshire (A NUTS 2 Area). This classification currently debars the Island obtaining Objective 1 Structural Funding.
It also removes the Island from the main funding streams for UK Assisted Area Status.
Challenge must be made by the Government
Legal procedures exist to challenge such classifications. Such a challenge has to be made by the UK Government, without which the Island will not qualify for any additional funding other than that already quoted.
Despite having a EU Gross Domestic figure inferior to those UK Regions that are benefitting from such funding streams.
The Isle of Wight Council are no doubt thankful for the support it has received both locally and regionally over this issue.
However this will count for nothing if the Government refuses to act.