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Chamber welcomes HM Treasury response and forthcoming BIS consultation
In February, a Chamber led, joint Norfolk/Suffolk delegation went to see the Energy Minister in Westminster. Among the topics raised with him, was the alignment of the six UK COREs (Centre of Renewable Engineering), of which Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft is one. At present four of the six COREs have Assisted Area status - Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft is not one of these. It would benefit our region’s CORE if it was also awarded Assisted Area status, as this would level the playing field when promoting Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, both nationally and internationally.
Following the delegation’s visit to Westminster, Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth and Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney wrote a joint letter to the Treasury raising the issue of Assisted Area status and the Enterprise Zones. A reply has now been received from the Treasury.
Danny Alexander, on behalf of the Treasury, has outlined that the Assisted Area status is being reviewed, as a new Assisted Area Map is due to come into force in 2014. The rules of eligibility for Assisted Area status are determined by EU Regional Aid guidelines, which are also currently being revised by the EU Commission. Their review is due to be finalised in May or June of this year. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has advised that it is due to undertake a public consultation on the designation of Assisted Areas later this year.
John Morse, President of the Great Yarmouth Chamber Council said:
“There are many potential opportunities in both the offshore renewables and the oil and gas industries that Great Yarmouth could benefit from. A level playing field, in terms of Assisted Area status, would help ensure the Great Yarmouth Enterprise Zone has the best chance of securing future economic growth and attracting further inward investment.
Once details of the consultation are known, the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, along with other organisations, will be calling for the support of the business community in and around Great Yarmouth to input into the consultation and help highlight the case for awarding this region’s CORE Assisted Area status.”