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Press Release: 19.12.13

19th December 2013

9 local wards on Assisted Area Map 2014-2020


Sittingbourne and Sheppey has been given a boost today with news that nine wards in the constituency have been included in the Government’s consultation document for its Assisted Area Map 2014-2020.


The wards in Sittingbourne are Chalkwell, Iwade and Lower Halstow, Kemsley, Milton Regis, Murston and Woodstock, whilst on Sheppey the wards are Queenborough and Halfway, Sheerness East and Sheerness West.


The wards are joined by a number from Chatham and Gillingham in what is called the Medway-Swale Crescent bid that was submitted as in a joint initiative by Swale Borough Council and Medway Council and was backed by local MP, Gordon Henderson.


The announcement was made in a written Parliamentary Statement by Sevenoaks MP, Michael Fallon, on Wednesday 18th December 2014.


The consultation document can be found on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/267159/bis-13-962-2014-to-2020-assisted-areas-map-consultation-stage-2-draft-assisted-areas-map-and-government-response-to-stage-1.pdf


Mr Henderson said:


“This is fantastic news and is something for which I have been pushing since becoming Member of Parliament in 2010.


“Successive governments have been reluctant to offer assisted area status to the South East, because of its perceived relative prosperity. I have always argued that even in relatively prosperous constituencies there are areas of economic deprivation and Sittingbourne and Sheppey is one such constituency. I am delighted that the Coalition Government has now acknowledged that fact by including so many of our wards in its proposed Assisted Area Map for 2014-2020.


“I would like to congratulate Swale Borough Council and Medway Council on working together to submit a joint bid that I was delighted to endorse by writing to the Government and lobbying ministers.


“One of the strong principles followed by the Government in selecting areas to be included in their proposed map was that it wanted to focus on areas that are able to use the flexibility provided by assisted area status to stimulate economic growth and I am delighted that ministers recognise that we have the potential to do just that here in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.


“But the battle is not yet over. This is just a consultation document and although it is a massive step in the right direction, we could still lose out in the face of competition from other areas not included in the map.


“Obviously I will be keeping up pressure on ministers to ensure we are in the final document. However, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our area, so it is really important that all of us set aside our political differences and come together to back the efforts of Swale Borough Council and Medway Council.”