Bexhill set to benefit from extra Euro cash

An aerial view around the European Parliament
An aerial view around the European Parliament

Bexhill businesses are set to benefit after Hastings Borough Council announced that its efforts to get Hastings and Bexhill designated an ‘Assisted Area’ have been successful.

Assisted Area Status (AAS) means certain areas may benefit from priority funding through Government or EU funds. Five Bexhill wards have been granted AAS: Central, Old Town, Sackville, St Michaels and Sidley wards.

A Rother District Council (RDC) spokesman said they are delighted that five Bexhill wards have been granted AAS, adding: “Those areas will become eligible for special Government allowances to encourage employment.

“Receiving this status for the period 2014 to 2020 should play a major role in boosting the economy of Bexhill, and of Rother as a whole, by attracting new business, which will in turn create jobs.”

As there is no specific funding allocated to new AAS areas it is not possible to put a figure on the value this status will bring to Bexhill.

RDC councillor Sue Prochak said the announcement is really good news for the area. “This is substantial EU money that’s being invested into small and medium businesses and will benefit people across Rother.

“The timing is good and it will attract new businesses into the area.”

Simon Hubbard, director of regeneration at Hastings Borough Council (HBC) said obtaining AAS has been a great joint effort that will boost the economy throughout the local area. “We have come a long way over the last few years, and this latest good news is yet another example of what we can achieve by working in partnership with others. We developed the bid with the support of the local business community, RDC and East Sussex County Council, our local MP, Seachange Sussex and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

“AAS puts Hastings and Bexhill on the map for getting European and UK regeneration funds. Businesses can potentially benefit from a higher rate of state support than previously, so helping create much-needed jobs locally.

“Colleagues here put a lot of work into presenting a strong case for Hastings and Bexhill, and we were supported by lobbying from local businesses and other organisations. I’m obviously delighted that that work paid off.

“The proposals are subject to ratification by the European Commission. The new Assisted Areas for 2014-2020 is expected to come into force in July.

“We now look forward to working with local businesses so that we can make the most of this extra support.”

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