- noun area of a country which is given aid by the government to help reduce unemployment. Such areas receive regional aid under European Union legislation. They have unemployment levels higher than the norm in the European Union and the aid is aimed at increasing employment opportunities and general regional prosperity. Grants are given to companies, sole traders or partnerships for capital expenditure (not general running costs) if they can prove they can create jobs or secure jobs which otherwise would be at risk. Currently the areas are being reduced because Britain’s unemployment level is lower than the European Union average.