The government has today unveiled the ‘assisted’ areas where businesses can apply for regional aid for the next seven years.
It has published a map showing regions where financial assistance may be granted to businesses under European Union law.
In the UK discretionary grant schemes are the main way this aid is delivered.
The government has had to cut the number of areas able to claim assistance by a fifth, because, under EU rules, the UK’s current economic performance is too strong for it to receive extra cash.
The areas which will continue to receive support are: Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, West Wales and the Valleys, the Scottish Highlands and the whole of Northern Ireland.
Halton, Ellesmere Port, Neston, South Manchester, North Warwickshire, Lowestoft, Brighton and Hove, Edinburgh and West Lothian have all been pushed off the map, which will now be sent to Brussels for final approval.
As well as the map, the government also unveiled a package of measures to help areas left off the map.
This package, announced to parliament by Margaret Hodge, minister for industry and the regions, will allow regional development agencies to give grants to small- and medium-sized businesses in the areas which have lost assisted status from January 2007.
Hodge said: “We have had the difficult job of prioritising areas eligible for regional aid, with a 20% cut in the overall coverage of the UK.
“We set out to make regional aid available where it is needed most to expand industry and maintain jobs. We listened hard, and we made changes to reflect local views wherever we could.
“We had tough choices to make, but I believe we have reached the best balance we could between the needs of areas and the opportunities in those areas.”