To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the criteria for Objective 1 funding. 
I have been asked to reply.The eligibility criteria for Objective 1 are specified in Article 3, paragraph 1 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds as follows:
The regions covered by Objective 1 shall be regions corresponding to Level II of the Nomenclature of Territorial Statistical Units (NUTS level II) whose per capita GDP, measured in purchasing power parities and calculated on the basis of Community figures for the last three years available on 26 March 1999, is less than 75 per cent. of the Community average.
The outermost regions (the French overseas departments, the Azores, the Canary Islands and Madeira), which are all below the 75 per cent. threshold, and the areas eligible under Objective 6 for the period 1995 to 1999 pursuant to Protocol 6 to the Act of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden shall also be covered by this Objective.
On 1 July 1999 the European Commission drew up the list of areas which would be eligible for Objective 1 for the period from 2000 to 2006. In the UK, four regions were eligible on the basis of the average GDP per head using data for 1994 to 1996. These are Merseyside, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, South Yorkshire and West Wales and the Valleys.