HC Deb 18 March 1986 vol 94 cc157-8
14. Mr. Stern

asked the Paymaster General if he will seek European Economic Community funding for special measures to promote employment in non-assisted areas.

Mr. Lang

Support is already available from the European social fund for some types of training and employment schemes in all parts of the country. While the fund's support is rightly concentrated on the areas of highest unemployment, we continue to support its role in promoting employment and training, particularly among disadvantaged groups, in all areas of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Stern

I am grateful for that reply. Does my hon. Friend agree that in many pockets outside the assisted areas, including some in my constituency, unemployment is every bit as high as, if not higher than, unemployment in assisted areas? Will he use his best endeavours to ensure that it is made easier for such pockets of unemployment to obtain the European assistance that is already available in assisted areas?

Mr. Lang

My hon. Friend is right. The boundaries for the priority areas are drawn up, not by us, but by the European Commission. Bristol has gained from the fund: over £1.5 million was spent there in 1985.