Thanet has been put on the Assisted Area Status map for the next seven years, which will help Thanet to access different types of financial support.
Under new Regional Aid guidelines produced by the EU, just 23.9% of the UK’s population will be covered by Assisted Area Status from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013. Currently, just over 30% of the UK population is covered by this status, which makes firms in these areas eligible for certain forms of large scale investment.
The only other area in the south east that to be awarded this status is the Sandwich ward of Dover. The chosen areas are those identified by the government as having higher levels of deprivation, but also those which offer development opportunities for large companies, who can benefit from the status.
Leader of Thanet Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: “This is excellent news for the area, particularly as the government has recognised Thanet as an area of opportunity for large companies. This round of Assisted Area Status has been more competitive than ever before, because of the expansion of the EU, which has seen a redistribution of aid to newer and poorer Member States and has also seen other parts of the UK lose out. Despite this, Thanet has been able to maintain this support – something that the Council has lobbied hard to ensure happens. This has been a real team effort between the Council, our officers and both of the area’s MP’s, all of whom have worked together to get the right result for the area.”
He added: “Over the last few years, Assisted Area Status has opened up funding opportunities for many businesses in Thanet and has also helped to attract inward investment into the area. With the announcement that the District is to retain this support for the next seven years, we look forward to seeing business growth and investment continue in Thanet, which can only bring positive benefits for our area’s economy and our residents.”