assisted areaa region of economic decline designated under European Union and UK REGIONAL POLICY as in need of industrial regeneration. Financial assistance in the form of REGIONAL SELECTIVE ASSISTANCE is available to manufacturing and service businesses prepared to undertake new investment in designated areas.
assisted areaan area of a country designated as qualifying for financial and other assistance under a country's REGIONAL POLICY in order to promote industrial regeneration. Assisted areas typically suffer from severe unemployment problems resulting from the decline of local firms and industries and are characterized by INCOME PER HEAD (GDP per capita) levels that are substantially below the national average.
In the UK, the main assisted areas are ‘Tier 1’ areas (formerly DEVELOPMENT AREAS) and ‘Tier 2’ areas (formerly INTERMEDIATE AREAS). These arrangements came into force in 2000 as part of a European Union (EU) programme aimed at establishing a comparable regional aid system across all the then 15 EU member states. Under EU policy, the main criteria for designating an assisted area is a GDP per capita that is below 75% of the EU average.
In the case of the UK, the areas proposed by the government, based on electoral voting ‘wards’, are still under review by the European Commission. Proposed Tier 1 areas are Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, West Wales and the Valleys, together with the whole of Northern Ireland. Proposed Tier 2 areas, totalling some 1550 smaller localities, are 79 from the east of England region; 133 from the East Midland region; 44 from the London region; 228 from the Northeast region; 144 from the Northwest region; 440 from Scotland; 129 from the Southeast region; 20 from the Southwest region; 51 from Wales; 197 from the West Midlands region and 91 from the Yorkshire and Humber region. Regarding Tier 2 submissions, the European Commission's preferred policy is to support ‘clusters’ of adjacent localities, providing sufficient ‘critical mass’ for industrial development rather than isolated localities.
In addition, a ‘Tier 3’ of assisted areas has been designated that covers areas of ‘special need’ (for example, coalfields and rural development areas).
The application of the new Tier structures is subject to an overall population ceiling requirement; specifically, for any country the number of persons residing in the assisted areas should not exceed more than 28.7% of the total population of the country See REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY.