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mepAn attempt to secure EU Assisted Area Status for the Isle of Wight would help boost economic development, Catherine Bearder MEP has said.

Community leaders are considering launching a bid for the help, which aims to kick-start economic growth in disadvantaged regions.

Catherine, who is a Member of the European Parliament for the Isle of Wight, attended Shanklin’s Annual Town meeting on Thursday to discuss a plan.

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She said: “The Isle of Wight is a great place to live, but also has to deal with social and economic battles.

“There is no doubt assisted area status would help put some extra building blocks in the place, stimulate growth and create vital jobs.

“I have heard how local people feel it could help the area and will do all I can to help push forward the bid.”

The European Commission currently dishes out around £9 billion in regional aid over seven years to places with Assisted Area Status. However, the period runs out next year and work is under way to decide which areas will get the money.

The Isle of Wight Trades Union Council and the town council is hoping the area will make the grade. The Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills need to approve the bid, as well as the European Commission.

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Catherine added:  “Money rightly goes to parts of the UK which really need the help, where unemployment is high and businesses struggle.

“And it would be wrong to suggest the South East is immune from these pressures.

“I am determined to make sure my constituency does not lose out on funding because decision makers think life is rosy in this corner of Britain.”

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