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Eec Development Funds

Volume 886: debated on Thursday 13 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funds have been allocated to Ulster by the European Economic Community for industrial development since the United Kingdom entered that Community; what estimates his Department is able to make of the likely Ulster share of the regional development fund over the next three years; and upon what firm commitments the estimates are based including the formula or agreement for sharing the United Kingdom allocation with the regions of the Kingdom having an entitlement.

Just over £12 million has been paid or committed from Community funds, some £2½ million of which is loan, for purposes broadly related to industrial development in Northern Ireland. As the information is in tabular form I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report. Draft regulations for the Regional Development Fund are under discussion. The Government's aim is fully to utilise the United Kingdom quota according to our regional policy requirements.

Will the Minister say whether the United Kingdom Government have full control over the allocation of funds to Northern Ireland? Further, will he say whether these aids to industrial development in any way prejudice existing Government aids such as fuel subsidies and rate relief for new industry?

These are matters for discussion within the Common Market, but it is the policy of the United Kingdom Government to allocate regional aid in accordance with their priorities and to secure the continuance of our present policies.

When the United Kingdom provincial Parliament debates the distribution of the regional fund, will it not be a slight curiosity that those from the Province of Ulster should be underrepresented when it comes to voting on the actual distribution of the fund?

That is slightly wider than the Question on the Order Paper. If the hon. Gentleman will table a Question to the appropriate Minister, I have no doubt that it will be answered.

Following is the table:

Subventions from EEC funds for purposes related to industrial development in Northern Ireland:

£ million

1. European Social Fund8·262
2. European Farm Fund (FEOGA)1·278
3. Regional studies0·028
4. European Investment Bank (loans)2·650