§ Mr. Eggar
Precise figures for the number of initial telephone and written inquiries originating from Hastings and Rye are not available. Formal applications have been made, or are being worked up, in 22 cases from Hastings and Rye. Grant offers have been made in three of those cases. Two of the offers have been accepted so far.
§ Mrs. Lait
I thank my hon. Friend for that updated information. Is he aware that, after a shaky start, which caused enormous upsets to businesses in Hastings and Rye, the Department's performance has improved enormously? It has improved so much that the time taken to answer a letter has been reduced by 50 per cent. Can he assure me 229 that, in the spirit of greater competitiveness, the Department's speed of decision making will move nearer to that of businesses?
§ Mr. Eggar
The Department and I are grateful to my hon. Friend for actively pursuing her constituents' interests. We have learnt lessons about speed of response and improved the service. I am confident that we shall improve it still further. If there are any other difficulties, I am sure that my hon. Friend will inform me.