PORTSMOUTH and Gosport are to apply for assisted area status, which could unlock extra funding to encourage more businesses to move in.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, met minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon yesterday and outlined a bid for the status.
Assisted area status is a European Union (EU) initiative which provides funds to areas in need.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We pointed out to Mr Fallon that we are applying for assisted area status for Portsmouth and Gosport.
‘He is the minister who decides if you get that or not, and that is a route for us to get money from the EU to encourage companies to move to this area so we have pushed our case on that.’
Mr Fallon met politicians of all political groups yesterday to hear their plans and thoughts on the shipbuilding situation.
The MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, said: ‘Yesterday was about making sure Michael Fallon was briefed to the hilt so that he knows exactly what he needs to do over the next few weeks.
‘His take on the situation was that there are reasons to be cheerful because there is a lot of money around and a lot of interest from people wanting to expand.
‘I’m pleased we have moved very quickly to support businesses and I’m really pleased everybody is pulling together.’
Cllr Donna Jones, the Conservative group leader, added: ‘I had an excellent meeting with the minister and I had the opportunity to discuss with him the importance of the BAE site on the Portsmouth and the wider economy.
‘More importantly, I impressed to him the need to improve outcomes of Portsmouth citizens by establishing Portsmouth as not only the maritime capital of the UK, but also to explore aerospace industry and expanding on the success of companies such as Astrium.
‘With Michael Fallon as the minister, we have an excellent opportunity to win bids for European growth fund grants and also specialist government grants.’