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European Regional Development Fund

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) when he expects to meet his counterparts in the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Economic Community to decide the proposals for use of the non-quota sector of the European Regional Development Fund; and what financial assistance he will make available from the sector for new and economically sound industrial activity in the West Midlands;(2) what percentage of the European Regional Development Fund is allocated to the non-quota sector; what value the sector is to the United Kingdom expressed in £ sterling terms; and whether the sector is available to finance projects outside the nationally aided regions.

Five per cent. of the European Regional Development Fund is allocated to the non-quota section.The non-quota section can, in principle, be made available outside the nationally aided regions, but the areas covered by the proposals which the Commission has submitted to the Council do not include any part of the West Midlands.The Commission's proposals for the use of the non-quota section envisage that 58 million EUA—approximately £37·5 million—should go to the United Kingdom. These proposals have not been agreed by the Council.No date has yet been fixed for a further discussion of the proposals by the Foreign Affairs Council. United Kingdom representation at Foreign Affairs Councils is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and either he or the Lord Privy Seal normally attends.