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Regional Assistance

Volume 210: debated on Tuesday 30 June 1992

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many awards of regional selective assistance, and of what value, have been made to firms in Cannock and Burntwood in each of the past five years.

The number of offers of regional selective assistance and the value of those offers made to firms in Cannock and Burntwood in each of the past five years were:

Number£'000 Value

To ask the President of the Board of Trade with regard to the European regional development fund and additionality, when he will publish his final details of transitional arrangements for 1992–93; if he will indicate the Government's policy for 1993–94; and if he will make a statement.

On 17 February my right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced that in settlement of the disagreement with the European Commission about the public expenditure treatment of ERDF grants, new arrangements were to be introduced. Since then. systems for their detailed implementation have been drawn up.The new arrangements, from April 1993, are as follows: full and separately indentifiable cover in the public expenditure survey is to be provided for all forecast ERDF receipts; the presentation of ERDF grants in public expenditure publications is to be made more transparent; to promote value for money, a wider range of bodies will be encouraged to apply for ERDF finance.It has been decided that, from April 1993 local authorities in England and Wales will receive supplementary credit approvals to the full value of ERDF grants that they receive in respect of expenditure defrayed on approved capital projects. These supplementary credit

Regional financial assistance at 1984–85 prices
East Midlands9.
North West93.
South West11.80.310.00.818.
West Midlands5.99.516.420.515.112.75.7
Yorkshire and Humberside32.06.327.24.527.
Great Britain500.417.8435.123.9552.936.7318.448.7332.458.0245.151.4185.346.8134.140.0

Note: The table comprises expenditure on regional development grantd,regional selective assistance and regional enterprise grants.

approvals assist authorities in financing their ERDFfunded expenditure. In Scotland, there will similarly be full and specific public expenditure cover, reflecting the different capital finance arrangements there. My Department will co-ordinate the necessary forecasting and monitoring of ERDF receipts.

The agreement between the Commission and the Government recognised that the above arrangements could not be implemented earlier than the financial year which starts in April 1993. It was agreed, however. that there should be special transitional arrangements. It has now been decided that these should be as outlined.

In respect of ERDF grants to local authority capital projects, supplementary credit approvals—separate public expenditure cover in Scotland—will be made available to finance expenditure in 1992–93 to the full value of ERDF RECHAR grants. Arrangements will be introduced for those authorities whose cover can be shown to be insufficient in respect of ERDF grants drawn down under other Community-aided programmes.

European regional development fund RECHAR grants for purposes other than local authority capital projects will be assured of the necessary public expenditure cover. For all other forecast ERDF grants, arrangements have been made to identify the likely scale of the public expenditure requirements and to consider how far currently available resources are available to meet them. All the necessary guidance will be issued to Department before the recess.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will provide a table of expenditure on regional financial assistance to each development area and intermediate area in the Northern region in each year since the last revision of assisted areas held in 1984 (a) at current prices and (b) at 1984 prices.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) on 22 June, Official Report, columns 62–64.

To ask the President of the Board ofTrade if he will provide a table of expenditure on regional financial assistance for the development areas and intermediate areas in each of the assisted regions of Great Britain, including Scotland, in each year since the 1984 revision of the assisted areas (a) at current prices and (b) 1984 prices.

[holding answer 29 June 1992]: Information on expenditure on regional financial assistance, converted to 1984–85 prices, is as follows:

Expenditure at current prices on regional financial assistance was set out in my answer of 5 June to the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) Official Report, columns 675–76.