HC Deb 22 June 1994 vol 245 cc228-9
13. Mrs. Lait

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many inquiries have been received by his Department for assisted area status grants from companies in Hastings and Rye; how many have converted into firm projects; and how many grants have been given.

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 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.

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