asked the Secretary of State for Industry what exidence he has that firms in development areas which receive Government grants are selling their products at uneconomic prices in unfair competition with firms outside development areas; whether foreign ownership of such firms in development areas is any bar to their receiving Government grants; and whether he will make a setatement.
It is Government policy to encourage firms to establish new employment—creating projects in development areas. Firms in manufacturing, mining and construction are eligible for a number of incentives, the most important of which are regional development grants, regional employment premium, and selective assistance under Section 7 of the Industry Act. In considering applications for Section 7 assistance we examine the potential success of the project, taking into account the strength of competition from other manufacturers and the general financial position of the company concerned. Regional assistance is available to both United Kingdom and foreign firms. It is an objective of regional policy to enable firms in development areas to be more competitive, but we have no evidence that recipients of regional aid are any more likely to sell their products at uneconomic prices or indulge in unfair competition than firms not in receipt of regional assistance.