UK Assisted Area
With thanks to Ventnor Cllr Harry Rees (Ventnor East) for supplying information.
The Government is currently carrying out a review/consultation of the present UK assisted Area, which covers the period 2007-2013 (Tiers 1-2-3)
The new period of funding will be from 2014-2020
At present the population ceiling for such Assisted Areas is set at 23.9% of the UK population (set by the European Commission). It is important to note that the UK Government, like other Member States, have to meet the qualifying criteria as specified by the European Union in creating these Assisted Areas (Tier 1 & 2).
The Commission may ask member States to reduce population ceiling. Currently the Isle of Wight falls foul of such E.U. criteria. Thus excluding the UK Government from even considering a Tier 1 Classification (This tier offers the maximum funding streams available).
What are Tier 1 Assisted areas?
The UK Government in accordance with 87(3)A now Article 107 as a result of the Lisbon Treaty identified areas for Tier 1 Assisted Area Status for the period 200-2006.
Tier 1 means that over the three years 1994- 1996 these areas had a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average. In short these are the areas with the greatest economic need and also eligible for SFI and RSA funding.
The exact definition of Tier 1 Areas measured art purchasing power parities and average over the three years 1994-1996 these areas had a GDP per capita of below 75% of the EU average.
However under Eurostat statistics the Isle of Wight is classified as a NUTS 3 Area.
For a NUTS 2 Area the Isle of Wight is coupled with Hampshire (EU qualifying requirement for Assisted Area Status)
The attached table highlights how disadvantaged the island becomes under such a NUTS 2 Area Classification. The figures statistically reflect that the island and its residents are much more affluent than is the case.
The UK Government also operate Tier 2 & 3 Assistance.
In respect of Tier 2 the Isle of Wight again fails to meet the eligible criteria and for Tier 3 (Enterprise Grant Areas) the Isle of Wight does qualify.
The funding streams for Tier 2 are lower than for Tier 1.
Tier 3 offers even less financial support.
Neither a Tier 2 nor 3 classification will really address the problems the Isle of Wight faces.
Is there a procedure available to challenge the Isle of Wight Classification in EU term?
In 2003 the European Commission introduced Legal Regulations for the establishment of a Common Classification of Territorial Units for statistics (NUTS Levels). Prior to this the setting of NUTS Levels within the EU involved no more than a “Gentleman’s Agreement” between the Member State Government and the EU commissioners. The UK Government agreed to abide by these new regulations).
Under Article 6 Management. The Commission should take the necessary measures to ensure the consistent management of the NUTS classification; in particular such measures (b) Examination of problems arising from the implementation of NUTS in the Member States Classification of Territorial Units.
These Regulations also allow for periodic review of such classification. The Author can find no evidence that the UK Government had requested such a review.
It is a pre-requisite that only UK Government can seek such a review by the Commissioners.
1) As a consequence either IWALC could seek such a review by the Commissioners.
2) Work in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council to seek such a review.
3) If all the options fail to materialise IWALC could seek a redress via the Court of Human Rights.
To allow the status quo to exist would be a travesty of justice for those that IWALC represent.