Funding and tax breaks to be available to more regional firms

Businesses could be eligible for new funding and tax breaks following the expansion of the Assisted Areas scheme.

Leeds, Scunthorpe, and Huddersfield have been added to the scheme, which is designed to stimulate business growth in areas that are otherwise deemed to be struggling.

The Assisted Areas scheme offers incentives such as tax breaks, while businesses will also be able to apply for regional aid.

The European Commission, which administers the scheme, is expected to sign off the new additions to the map in July. Areas already part of the scheme include much of South Yorkshire, Merseyside, and the West Midlands.

Business minister Michael Fallon said: “Assisted Area status can be a shot in the arm for growth and jobs across the UK. It makes local 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.”

The additions to the Assisted Areas map follow a public consultation that began in December 2013. Under European rules the government is permitted to assign Assisted Area status for the period 2014-2020 to parts of the UK that account for no more than 27.05 per cent of the population.

Information on applying for funds and tax concessions under the Assisted Areas scheme will be available after the European Commission agrees on the additions. The full proposed map is available on the government’s dedicated website.