asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the total cost to the Exchequer by way of depreciation, loans and grants of investment by manufacturing industry in plant and machinery, including leased plant and machinery; and what percentage of the total cost of such plant and machinery was thus accounted for.
I have been asked to reply.In the financial years 1978–79 to 1980–81 inclusive, regional development grant totalling £879·2 million was paid in respect of qualifying investment in new (including leased) plant and machinery by manufacturing industry. During this period, RDG was payable on plant and machinery at rates of 22 per cent. in special development areas, and 20 per cent. in development areas in respect of expenditure defrayed before 18 July 1979 and on assets provided before 1 August 1980. For expenditure defrayed or assets provided on or after these dates the Development Area rate was 15 per cent.No figures are available on the cost to the Exchequer of depreciation on plant and machinery separately from the overall figures for capital allowances. Offers of financial assistance under section 7 and 8 of part I of the Industry Act 1972 are made towards the total cost of individual projects and a breakdown isolating plant and machinery is not available. There are a number of other schemes of financial assistance, notably under the Science and Technology Act 1965, under which investment in plant and machinery may be supported, but again no breakdown is available.