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Rural Enterprise Scheme

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will enable surplus funds in his Department’s rural enterprise scheme and processing and marketing scheme to be re-allocated to the South-West England region to cover the funding shortfall; and if he will make a statement. (81760)

The rural enterprise scheme and processing and marketing grant have been very popular and successful across the country. The announcement, in February this year that these schemes would close on 30 June led to a large increase in the number of applications, all of which were seeking funding from a limited budget.

DEFRA and the Rural Development Service (RDS) expect to be able to award fully the remaining funds to projects in the respective regions where that money was scheduled to be allocated. In the event that any money remains unallocated after the final Regional Appraisal Panels have met (in August), RDS have put in place plans and procedures to allocate any surplus to the highest quality reserve projects from around the country.

Good quality reserve projects from the South-West region would be included in this exercise, but in such an event projects will be judged on their merits regardless of the region they are from.