HC Deb 11 April 1983 vol 40 c533
4. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the value of the grants allocated to Wales from the European regional development fund since November 1982.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Grant commitments since November 1982 amount to £21 million.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that such grants make an important contribution to the economic strength of Wales? How much has Wales received in grants from the European regional development fund since its inception?

Mr. Edwards

Certainly they make a welcome contribution. The £21 million commitment that was approved in November 1982 was the largest single allocation since the fund began in 1975, and the resulting total for the year of about £50 million is the highest annual allocation since the establishment of the fund. It means that Wales has derived about £166 million from the fund.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Had we not paid £1 million a day in membership fees, plus a whole host of other liabilities as a result of our membership of the Common Market, would not any British Government be in a better position to assist Wales with many projects and have a better understanding of the position in Wales than remote bureaucrats in Brussels?

Mr. Edwards

Many manufacturing firms which provide employment in the hon. Gentleman's constituency have told me that withdrawal from Europe would have disastrous consequences for employment.

Mr. Tom Ellis

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Development Corporation for Wales, as shown by the evidence that it presented to the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs, is of the opinion that most of the overseas companies which came to Wales within the last 10 years were attracted there because Britain was a member of the European Community"?

Mr. Edwards

I am sure that that is right. Many have said so to me, and many have said that if we withdrew from Europe they would probably have to close down or severely reduce their operations here.