HC Deb 15 December 1971 vol 828 cc147-8W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his Department's policy on the payment of investment grant on expenditure incurred on or after 27th October, 1970; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Anthony Grant

The Investment and Buildings Grants Act, 1971, in general precludes the Department from making an investment grant on expenditure incurred after 26th October, 1970, unless they are satisfied that it consists of a sum payable under a contract made on or before that date. Whether this is so in each case is a matter of law and the particular facts at the relevant date. I am, for instance, advised that no contract exists unless and until an offer has been made and an acceptance which exactly matches the offer has been communicated. The Department do not introduce legal difficulties in order to avoid payment of grant. The onus is on any firm which applies for grant to supply evidence which satisfies the Department.

Thus the House will understand that an arrangement which on 26th October fell short of a legal contract will not suffice even though it represented normal business practice. For example, an acknowledgment of an order which contains terms or conditions not present in the order does not conclude a contract but represents a counter offer. However, once the Department are satisfied by the evidence provided—and in assembling evidence firms may find it helpful to take legal advice—grant will be made according to existing policy and practice.