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Financial Assistance (Statistics)

Volume 20: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry by how much money, either in the form of grants and allowances or taxes forgone, the following areas have benefited from the actions of his Department in the most recent period for which figures are available: North Staffordshire, West Midlands, United Kingdom and the assisted areas; and if he will also express the overall figure as the amount per person in the population and per unemployed person in each of the specified areas.

The most important items of Government policy from which firms in North Staffordshire and the West Midlands benefit are capital allowances—the effect on tax receipts of this, or taxes forgone, for the whole country was £6·7 billion in 1980–81—and stock relief—£2·1 billion—through the tax system. The area also benefits from Department of Industry support for British industry which in 1980–81 amounted to about £2¾ billion. This includes payments to British Leyland with its strong presence in the West Midlands Science and Technology Act expenditure, support for British Steel, small firms and other heads, including regional policy.The following paragraph quotes the expenditure on schemes, where this is readily available for the geographical areas specified in the question. All except section 8 schemes are limited to assisted areas. The items excluded from the figures shown, but mentioned in paragraph 1, are more significant in North Staffordshire and the West Midlands than the items for which figures in the form requested are readily available.Expenditure under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 amounted to £0·5 million in North Staffordshire and £10 million in the West Midlands in 1980–81. Section 8 expenditure totalled £32 million in the assisted areas and £72 million in Great Britain in that year. Expenditure on regional selective assistance was negligible in the West Midlands in that year, as only Oswestry qualified as an assisted area. Gross expenditure in 1980–81 on the main items of regional preferential assistance—regional development grants, regional selective assistance and land and factory building—was £703 million in Great Britain, all of this of course arising in the assisted areas. Not all of this expenditure is the responsibility of the Department of Industry. Given the lack of regional information on many important items of assistance to British industry, it would not be meaningful to compare per capita expenditure figures for the items mentioned in this paragraph.This answer is limited to Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom. Assistance to industry in Northern Ireland is administered by the Northern Ireland Department of Commerce.