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COUNCILS PUSH FOR MORE REGIONAL AID

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Local authorities are lobbying for additional areas to qualify for state aid to industry, while ministers have been...
Local authorities are lobbying for additional areas to qualify for state aid to industry, while ministers have been asked by the European Commission to cut the number of such zones, reports The Financial Times (p10).

The EC wants the government to cut the numbers of areas which qualify for regional selective assistance grants - which currently cover 34% of the population of England, Wales and Scotland.

But councils are seizing on the review as an opportunity to argue for new qualifying areas to be created.

For example, councils in Kent tomorrow launch a bid for the status to be extended to lessen the impact of the abolition of duty-free shopping, which they say threatens 5,000 jobs.

Coventry City Council is also bidding for assisted area status to help cope with more than 1,100 job losses in recent months.

The government must submit proposals for future assisted areas by the end of next March.

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