Published: 13:00, 30 April 2014 |
Updated: 14:37, 30 April 2014
Parts of Swale are set for a business boost after being nominated by the government to receive aid.
Five wards in Sittingbourne and three on Sheppey have been selected for assisted area status until 2020.
The decision is still subject to final approval from the European Commission. This is expected by July 1.
Under EU rules, areas which are economically disadvantaged in some way, yet are recognised as having potential for growth, can qualify.
If granted, it means businesses in those areas would be eligible to bid for additional funding and tax breaks to create jobs, help growth and invest in new premises and equipment.
It is also hoped firms would be more attracted to move to those locations because of the aid they could receive.
The selected wards are: Chalkwell, Iwade and Lower Halstow, Kemsley, Milton Regis, Murston, Queenborough and Halfway, Sheerness East and Sheerness West.
They were put forward, along with a number of wards from Chatham and Gillingham, in a joint bid by Swale and Medway councils.
MP Gordon Henderson has called the announcement “brilliant news”.
He said: “While it doesn’t actually give Sittingbourne and Sheppey any money as such, it does allow companies within our area, or who are considering moving to our area, to apply for government money, so that is a huge step forward.”
Assisted area status could attract more “knowledge-based” companies to the Kent Science Park and bring major investment into plans to expand the Eurolink industrial estate, he said.
On the Island, he said, once the current dispute over the Sheerness steel site is resolved, it could encourage a steel maker or another company looking for an alternative industrial use to apply for grants to move there.
He added: “This is actually given not for areas where there are large amounts of poor housing but actually where there is a good potential of increasing employment.
“It’s obvious the government has recognised that out of the whole of Kent, Sittingbourne and Sheppey and parts of Medway are actually better prepared to provide the opportunity to increase employment."
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.