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Rural Enterprise Scheme

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what grants have been allocated under the Rural Enterprise Scheme in the South West in each month since December 2005. (73274)

The following figures show the number of applications approved in the South West region, in each month from December 2005 onwards. The numbers have been broken down by measure, to show the type of activity for which funding has been approved.

The funding awarded covers activity to take place across financial years 2005-06 to 2008-09.

December 2005

Measure

Number of projects

Total funding offered (£)

Basic Services

1

62,156

Renovation and development of villages

5

274,789

Diversification

8

322,573

Encouragement for tourism and craft activities

1

25,685

Total

15

685,203

January 2006

Measure

Number of projects

Total funding offered (£)

Diversification

1

13,325

Development of Infrastructure

1

13,015

Encouragement for tourism and craft activities

1

10,972

Total

3

37,312

February 2006

Measure

Number of projects

Total funding offered (£)

Marketing of Quality Agricultural Products

1

15,000

Basic Services

1

41,251

Renovation and development of villages

5

347,082

Diversification

8

442,924

Development of Infrastructure

1

6,361

Encouragement for tourism and craft activities

1

4,500

Total

17

857,118

March 2006

Measure

Number of projects

Total funding offered (£)

Basic Services

2

76,509

Renovation and development of villages

4

310,931

Diversification

6

693,512

Total

12

1,080,952

April 2006

Measure

Number of projects

Total funding offered (£)

Basic Services

1

13,983

Renovation and development of villages

2

29,990

Diversification

3

24,108

Encouragement for tourism and craft activities

1

13,179

Total

7

81,260

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance his Department has provided to farmers to facilitate applications to the Rural Enterprise Scheme. (73275)

Across the country, Regional Appraisal Panels have awarded Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) grants to a number of facilitation projects and co-ordination bodies, totalling approximately £1.5 million, which includes significant support for farmer applicants. For example, one project in the West Midlands regions was awarded over £150,000 as a co-ordination body to facilitate the development of broad, high quality innovative and collaborative new projects in rural Warwickshire that had the potential to be funded under RES.

When the Rural Enterprise Scheme guidance notes for applicants were updated in 2004, an additional booklet providing advice on preparing a business plan for socio-economic projects was also developed and provided to prospective applicants.

Rural Development Service staff across the country have continually provided help and advice to prospective applicants as part of their day-to-day activity running the scheme. This has included pre-application clinics, advice and direction on priorities for funding, and site visits to discuss projects.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications have been received for the rural enterprise scheme in (a) England and (b) each Government region; how much money has been made available as part of the scheme in (i) England and (ii) each Government region; what percentage of the funds in each area have been allocated; to what extent funds allocated to the south west have been withdrawn to compensate for overspends in other parts of the country; and if he will make a statement. (73733)

[holding answer 25 May 2006]: The following table provides details on the rural enterprise scheme which operates within the 2000 to 2006 England Rural Development Programme. Figures provided are up to date as of 23 May 2006:

Region

Total number of RES applications received 2000 to 2006

Total number of RES applications approved to date

Value of RES budget 2000 to 2006 (£ million)

Percentage of RES budget allocated 2000 to 2006 (percentage)

North East

511

293

10.0

94

North West

704

423

20.0

86

East Midlands

609

272

25.6

86

West Midlands

683

367

16.7

84

South West

919

408

18.5

86

Yorks and Humber

584

311

14.5

97

East of England

607

271

13.7

77

South East

612

330

13.8

87

National1

46

17

7.2

29

Total for England

5,275

2,692

140.0

84

1 National covers projects that span a number of regional boundaries.

No funds have been withdrawn from the south west region's allocation.

Under the EU regulations supporting the rural enterprise scheme, 50 per cent. of funding comes from the European Union. These European funds are allocated on an annual basis and it is generally not possible to transfer any unspent EU funds to a later financial year. This scheme, therefore, requires close and careful financial management. To this end, each region is given an annual budget within which it must manage the grant awards it has made. This will include any delays to project expenditure and therefore delays to claims, as well as any under or over-claims by beneficiaries.

The performance of approved projects is subject to continuous review to establish the true value of any 'headroom' in annual budgets. For 2006-07, a detailed exercise is in place to ensure that budgets are used to the maximum extent possible. In this regard, it is expected that some additional monies will be identified as available to support new grant awards before the closure of the scheme at the end of June. The precise value of funds available for grant awards will be confirmed by mid-June.

There will continue to be significant competition for the remaining funds; the Rural Development Service will continue to manage the position carefully in 2006-07, with a view to the possible redirection of funds between regions where regional interest in the scheme is genuinely lower than anticipated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether money allocated to the South West for grants to be made under the Rural Enterprise Scheme has been subsequently transferred to other areas. (74090)

No funds have been withdrawn from the South West under the Rural Enterprise Scheme for transfer to other areas.