PARTS of the Portsmouth area have been earmarked for extra help in a bid to boost businesses and create jobs.
The government has today revealed which parts of the UK have won assisted area status – and Portsmouth is among them.
It’s part of a European Union (EU) scheme which means firms in the area will be eligible to ask for extra funding and tax breaks to create new jobs and invest in new equipment or premises.
City leaders have welcomed the news, and the potential it has to boost the area’s fortunes.
The minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, who had the final say on the applications in his capacity as Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, said: ‘Putting Portsmouth and Gosport on the map is positive news for the local economy.
‘This status makes businesses eligible to bid for additional funding and support that can help them to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery, develop and grow.
‘Portsmouth put forward an extremely powerful case to me and is one of handful of new areas to be added to he assisted areas map following our consultation.’
Portsmouth joins Derby, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester, and Scunthorpe, as one of the latest areas to be announced.
A significant part of the Isle of Wight has also been added for the first time.
Penny Mordaunt, the MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘I’m delighted with this because Caroline Dinenage and I campaigned very hard to get it.
‘It’s another bit of help but we must remember we are an area that is thriving.
‘We have challenges with regard to the shipyard but with the assistance we are getting from government and the action being taken we are going to get a very good outcome from this.
‘It’s more power and more help to enable us to achieve our objections.’
Eligible areas were selected based on their economic need and economic opportunity.
Places with the potential for business growth were favoured.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, added: ‘This is money we will be getting in from the EU to support jobs creation here in Portsmouth.
‘It’s a really important step for bringing jobs in to the city.
‘This is about us being open for businesses who want to come into the area.’
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership asked the government to consider the Portsmouth Harbour area for assisted area status after 940 shipbuilding jobs were axed by BAE Systems.
The government’s assisted areas map is still subject to European Commission approval and is expected to take effect on July 1.