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European Anti-Poverty Programme

Volume 84: debated on Wednesday 23 October 1985

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asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the different criteria adopted by the Scottish Office, the Welsh Office, Northern Ireland Office and other United Kingdom Government Departments in relation to projects involving proposals for the European anti-poverty programme.

I have been asked to reply.Decisions on whether the different parts of the United Kingdom should participate in the second European Community programme to combat poverty were taken by Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Department of Health and Social Security. The criteria for the selection of applications were set out in a Council decision (85/8/EEC) of 19 December 1984 and associated Commission document (COM(84)681) and communicated to Government Departments and possible applicants in the United Kingdom by the Department of Health and Social Security. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland concluded that the potential benefits to Scotland were not sufficient to justify participation in the programme.

Fourteen projects in the United Kingdom have just been selected by the Commission for Community financial assistance amounting to a total of about £1·78 million over the three and a half years of the programme. Nine are in England — Stoke on Trent, Whitley Bay, Wolverhampton, Bolton, Bristol, Lancashire, and the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham—three are in Wales—West, Mid and South Glamorgan—and two double projects in Northern Ireland. The projects are intended to assist the poor elderly, young and long-term unemployed people, single parent and ethnic minority families. The United Kingdom and Germany each receive about 17 per cent. of the Community funds available for projects under the programme; other member countries receive lesser amounts.