HC Deb 11 May 1999 vol 331 cc104-5
6. Mr. Alan Johnson (Hull, West and Hessle)

If he will make a statement on the single regeneration budget for Yorkshire and Humberside. [82785]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Mr. Alan Meale)

The single regeneration budget—SRB—provides resources to support regeneration initiatives carried out by local partnerships. The SRB in Yorkshire and Humberside is now managed by the Yorkshire and the Humber regional development agency. It is considering 22 final bids for round 5, and will make recommendations to Ministers, who will take final decisions around the end of June this year.

Mr. Johnson

With respect to the competitiveness of businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber region, does my hon. Friend agree that the emphasis in SRB programmes needs to be placed on measures to improve learning in the work force, and on better links between businesses and the further and higher education sector?

Mr. Meale

My hon. Friend is right. The Government are committed to giving everyone the opportunity to have a stake in society through better education and training. We must all develop and sustain a regard for learning at any age.

Mr. David Curry (Skipton and Ripon)

Will the Minister have regard to the importance of making sure that the various funding flows—national and European—that contribute to regeneration are properly co-ordinated, integrated and prioritised? To that end, does he recognise the importance of the difficult circumstances in the rural uplands, particularly in North Yorkshire, and will he make sure that, when objective 2 designation for the rural strand is agreed, it will include all the areas currently under 5b? The situation in the hills is desperate, with a whole society in crisis.

Mr. Meale

The right hon. Gentleman is correct. In rounds 1 to 4, Yorkshire and Humberside got co-ordinated investment income of £242 million and an SRB direct contribution of £52 million. The new regional development agencies must pay due regard to the needs of rural areas.

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