HC Deb 19 February 1979 vol 963 cc1-3
Mr. Madden

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the total of financial assistance, for which his Department is responsible, provided to private industry, since February 1974.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Alan Williams)

Financial assistance for which my Department is responsible to all sectors of industry in the period from 1 April 1974, including forecast expenditure in 1978–79, totalled £6,148 million at 1978 survey prices and is included in the programme detailed in table 2.4 of the Public Expenditure Survey—Cmnd. 7439. Records are not kept which distinguish in all instances between financial assistance to the public and private sectors, but assistance to the private sector during the period in question totalled approximately £5,000 million.

Mr. Madden

In view of the colossal sums of taxpayers' money which have been given to private industry, does the Minster agree that it is high time that we introduced much better procedures to secure public accountability and value for money? Are not much tougher regulations long overdue to cover top civil servants leaving Government Departments, including the Department of Industry, for more lucrative jobs in British industry which has received large handouts from the British taxpayer?

Mr. Williams

My hon. Friend will know that there are established procedures for monitoring such appointments. Obviously we wish to secure the best value for money. During the period in question investment projects worth £7,300 million were generated from the selective assistance, 235,000 jobs were created and 133,000 jobs were saved.

Mr. Fell

Is it possible to break down the total amounts? Can they be broken down into areas or even counties? If so, what is the amount for Norfolk or East Anglia?

Mr. Williams

I do not have such detailed information available at the moment. There is a regional breakdown. If the hon. Member indicates whether he wants the breakdown on a constituency, county or regional basis, I shall attempt to provide him with all the information possible.

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