asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will give an assessment of the success of the small engineering firms investment scheme; and if he will make a statement about its likely future.
The scheme has been a considerable success and will provide a much needed boost to the small engineering sector over the next three years. The 1,000 applications so far received indicate that we shall achieve our objective of accelerating the acquisition by small firms of technologically advanced and more highly productive equipment. In view of the overwhelming response a further £10 million is being made available over the life of the scheme, by adjusting the Department's industrial support priorities. This raises the total allocation for the scheme to £30 million.As I have made clear throughout, applications are being treated on a first-come first-served basis. With such a substantial early response, even the increased allocation will shortly be committed. However, all eligible applications received by 5 pm on 28 May 1982 should receive an offer of assistance in due course. The scheme will then be closed for applications.