HC Deb 06 May 1999 vol 330 cc1086-8
19. Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)

What account he proposes to take of the needs of upland and coastal areas in North Yorkshire in allocating objective 2 status for EU funding. [82379]

The Minister for Small Firms, Trade and Industry (Mr. Michael Wills)

The Government are consulting interested parties on the designation of eligible UK areas under objective 2. All areas will be considered equally for inclusion, on the basis of need.

Mr. Greenway

I thank the Minister for that reply—and you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to ask the question. Does the Minister agree that low per head GDP, low population density and low average earnings, and heavy reliance on seasonal part-time and casual employment—especially in the livestock, farming, fishing, tourism, and food processing industries—should be the essential criteria in deciding the rural strand of EU funding under objective 2? Although I realise that the Minister will not be able to give me an answer today, does he accept that, on those criteria, a formidable case can be made for retaining North Yorkshire's upland and coastal areas within the ambit of EU objective 2 funding, and that, without that funding, the economies of Ryedale and Scarborough will seriously struggle?

Mr. Wills

I assure the hon. Gentleman that his views, with all other views, will be taken carefully into consideration in the consultation period, which ends on 25 May.