HC Deb 12 July 1982 vol 27 cc628-9
2. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the value of the grants allocated to England from the European regional development fund in 1982.

The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. John MacGregor)

So far this year a total of £50.2 million has been allocated from the quota section of the European regional development fund. I expect further substantial allocations in respect of projects in the English assisted areas in the second half of this year.

Mr. Knox

Does my hon. Friend agree that these grants are playing an increasingly important part in building up the strength of our economy? What steps is he taking to publicise the nature and extent of the assistance to this country from the European regional development fund?

Mr. MacGregor

I agree with my hon. Friend that this is an important element in the way in which Britain benefits from the EEC. Our share of the quota section is at present fixed at nearly 24 per cent., which makes us the second greatest beneficiary. Almost £200 million will he coming to the United Kingdom as a whole this year.

We publicise the grants that come in. It is clear from deputations that I receive that local authorities are well aware of the advantages of the fund, although they, too, could do more to tell the general public about the assistance that comes from the regional development fund.

Mr. Park

Does the Minister agree that there is no point in publicising the fund in the West Midlands if the Government refuse to recognise the structural defects in industry in that part of Britain?

Mr. MacGregor

Money from the European regional development fund goes to assisted areas throughout Europe. Therefore, it is directed to assisted areas in this country. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we recently discussed the changes in assisted areas following a statement in the House. This matter can be discussed further during the debate on Wednesday.