The Leader of the Council – Regeneration Cabinet Member – Minutes – 19 October 2011

5  (5)  TRANSITION REGIONS – ASSISTED AREA STATUS – The Head of Regeneration and Planning submitted a report on an opportunity for lobbying for the introduction of the European Commission’s ‘transition regions’ proposal, and lobbying for Assisted Area Status enlargement to ensure the continuation of current Assisted Area Status. 

It was explained that on 29 June 2011 the European Commission presented the Multi-annual Financial Framework (the MFF) – a document which presented the Commission’s plans on how to spend European Union (EU) money for the period 2014-2020. The publication of the MFF document was the starting point for intense negotiations between EU institutions and Member States as well as for intense lobbying from different stakeholders.  It was considered that regional governments and administrations would be a critical partner in these discussions, particularly on the future of structural funds, but also on the future of innovation and research programmes, education and social policy programmes. 

A UK Local Authorities Transition Regions Network had been established to debate the current proposals and the UK Network agreed that its position would be based on four areas: money, eligibility, geography and administration.  The Cabinet Member was advised that the UK Network had major concerns over the limited scope and range of eligible actions and was seeking dialogue with the Governments and the EU to align the scope of eligible actions to the basis of regional priorities. 

The Head of Regeneration and Planning clarified that ‘Assisted Area’ status under European State Aid regulations allowed the UK government to provide aid to companies to create or protect jobs.  Assisted Area (AA) status was available to less prosperous local economies and in England and the AA status currently underpinned much of the distribution of Regional Growth Funding. 

The report sought approval to actively lobby for the introduction of the ‘transition regions’ proposal, to support the UK Local Authorities Network proposals detailed within the report and to lobby for the continuation of Assisted Area Status for the South Humber Gateway (Ferry Ward) together with the inclusion of Scunthorpe. 

Resolved – (a)  That current lobbying work being undertaken by organisations such as UK Local Authorities Transition Regions Network be noted, and (b) that the recommendation to lobby for ‘transition regions’ implementation, the continuation of the Ferry Ward as an Assisted Area and to seek to include Scunthorpe Wards within the Assisted Area be approved.