HC Deb 21 July 1986 vol 102 c8
6. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total value of grants which Wales has received from the European regional development fund in each of the past three years.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Net commitments in 1983, 1984 and 1985 amounted to £45.1 million, £63 million, and £54.9 million, respectively. Allocations to Wales in 1986 to date total £12.6 million, with applications for a further £37.2 million of aid under consideration in Brussels.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend believe that the size of the grants has been sufficiently well publicised? If not, what steps is he taking to ensure that the public are made aware of the extent of the assistance that Wales receives from the fund?

Mr. Edwards

The assistance has made a valuable contribution to the provision of infrastructure. The most recent example was the announcement by the Commission of financial support for the splendid new innovation centre on the campus of Swansea university, which was opened by the Prince of Wales a fortnight ago. Every opportunity is taken to publicise such support through press notices and by other means. When I was at the university last week the principal expressed his gratitude for the support and said how important it was.

Mr. Wigley

As one of the most important European grants for Gwynnedd — that to the lamb and sheep farmers—is being lost because of the radioactivity ban, thus causing an immense cash flow crisis for the farmers, when will the Secretary of State make a clear and detailed statement on compensation for those farmers? When will he come out of his bunker and come to Gwynnedd—he has not yet been there, although the crisis has continued for a month—and meet those farmers, who are facing a desperate time?

Mr. Edwards

I understand the importance of the questions being asked, which is why we are taking urgent steps to ensure that the areas are reduced as quickly as possible. But this does not arise under a question about the ERDF.