HC Deb 19 February 1990 vol 167 c641
3. Mr. Knox

To ask 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 last three years.

Mr. Peter Walker

Figures for European regional development fund assistance committed in Wales in each of the past three years are as follows: 1987, £57.8 million, 1988, £63.3 million and 1989, £28.8 million. The decline in 1989 was due to delays in Commission approvals. That will result in a rise in commitments in 1990.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that those grants play an important part in helping to create more jobs in Wales? Is he satisified that the source of those grants is sufficiently well publicised?

Mr. Walker

Yes. The fund has played an important part and the Welsh Office has done a great deal in endeavouring to negotiate a range of grants for the benefit of Wales.

Dr. Kim Howells

Will the Secretary of State ensure that whatever EC grants are available are used to help to remove the Albion colliery tip above the village of Cilfynydd, which is just a few miles down the valley from Aberfan? That village is threatened by the old Albion tip, which is causing grave discomfort to many of my constituents, who are also worried about their property.

Mr. Walker

Irrespective of European grants, it is obviously important that all those concerned take the action that is required. I understand the hon. Gentleman's deep concern. As he knows, that matter is a basic responsibility of Mid Glamorgan county council. It has applied for grants to take certain action and the Welsh Development Agency has speedily agreed to give those grants—I believe that it approved them today or last week. I shall certainly keep a close watch to see that all the assistance needed by that county council is given.

Mr. Livsey

On the RDF, what will the Secretary of State do about the integrated operations initiative put forward by Powys, Gwynedd and Dyfed? That initiative has been accepted as worthwhile by the Welsh Office and by the EC, but, apparently, it is now being blocked by central Government. Will the right hon. Gentleman do something to ensure that that initiative stays at the front of the queue instead of being pushed back?

Mr. Walker

It is not a case of pushing back the initiative. Important negotiations and a change of emphasis are taking place in the Community. We certainly do our best for all the applications.