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Volume 981: debated on Friday 21 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has reached a decision on the grants-in-aid to the North of England Development Council, the North-West Industrial Development Association, the Yorkshire and Humberside Development Agency and the Devon and Cornwall Development Bureau.

I have reviewed these grants in the light of the urgent need for economy in all public sector expenditure. Against this background I have decided that the Department of Industry's grant should in future be on a pound for pound basis matching the funds provided by the local authorities and received from other sources up to a specified maximum; that the total contribution by central Government should be reduced; and that the general oversight and co-ordination of the activities of the agencies should be jointly shared with the contributing county councils. My noble Friend the Minister of State has accordingly written to the chairmen of each of the agencies offering to continue the grants for a further three years on those conditions.The maximum annual rate for which each agency can qualify, based principally on the prospects for prosperity and employment in the regions, having regard to our policy of concentrating assistance on the areas of greatest need will be:United States consumption of whisky is accounted for by imports from the United Kingdom.

The information could be made available from official sources, if at all, only at disproportionate cost. The hon. Member may wish to be aware that some information on market share by type of whisky appeared in an article in the United States journal "Business Week", issue dated 2 April 1979, although the basis of the figures given is not clear.