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Assistance To Industry

Volume 976: debated on Friday 21 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will bring forward proposals to assist firms registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act in raising finance, in view of the fact that they cannot issue shares to raise capital.

The Industrial Common Ownership Act 1976 makes provision for loans to be made to common ownership enterprises registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965 to 1975. There are no plans at present to introduce further measures. So far as co-operative and common ownership enterprises are concerned, the Co-operative Development Agency is available to provide advice on such matters as raising finance.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what steps are taken to ensure that governmental cash assistance to industry is monitored to ensure that such assistance is used for the purpose for which it was given; and if he will make a statement.

Government financial assistance to industry provided by the Department of Industry takes a number of forms, and the conditions attaching to it also vary. The Department satisfies itself that appropriate conditions are met before payment is made. Some forms of assistance, notably regional development grants, become repayable, in whole or part, if there is a subsequent breach of the conditions. Reports from independent auditors are required to support most claims for payment of assistance, and monitoring visits to claimant's premises by the Department's staff are also made in all but the smallest cases. I am satisfied that these arrangements are reasonably adequate.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Reportthe amount of cash assistance given to industry in the United Kingdom during the period 1975 to the latest available date, broken down on a regional and industry basis.

The total amount of cash assistance given by my Department in the financial years from 1975–76 to 1978–79 amounted to £3,627 million (£4,330 million in autumn 1978 prices). In addition, £610 million was provided to the National Enterprise Board. Certain analyses of Industry Act 1972 expenditure (which represents over two-thirds of the total, excluding NEB funding) broadly in the form requested are published in my Department's annual reports on the Act. It would involve disproportionate time and expense to produce analyses of the other expenditure included in the total given above, and certain items would in any event be difficult to allocate.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much Government assistance was given to industry in the United Kingdom in the years 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78 and to the latest available date.

Financial assistance to industry given by my Department and other funds provided to the National Enterprise Board since 1975–76 are:

Assistance to industry £ millionNEB funding £ million
1975–761,67118
1976–771,031200
1977–78616404
1978–791,01254
The figures are at autumn 1978 prices.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what estimate he has made of the total amount of aid and grants to be given to privately and publicly owned industry in 1980, 1979 and 1978; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 December 1979]: Total financial assistance provided to industry by my Department is estimated to fall from £1,012 million in 1978–79 (autumn 1978 prices) to about £790 million in 1979–80 and a similar amount in 1980–81. These estimates include £150 million provided to British Leyland under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 in 1978–79, but exclude other funds provided to the NEB for the financing of its companies totalling (after allowing for repayments) £54 million in 1978–79 and an estimated £215 million in 1979–80. A precise division of assistance according to ownership is not practicable, but a rough estimate suggests that the proportion of assistance going to privately owned companies will rise from slightly over half in 1978–79 to about two-thirds in 1980–81.