§ Mr. Corrie
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will arrange for the Scottish Industrial Development Board to give block loans at 10 per cent. to the Small Industries Council for Rural Areas of Scotland.
§ Mr. John Silkin
The hon. Member's suggestion would not be appropriate. The Scottish Industrial Development Board is an advisory body, which is consulted by the Department of Industry on applications for selective assistance under Industry Act 1972. Department of Industry loans may be given at concessionary rates for projects providing additional employment throughout Scotland including the rural areas. The Small Industries Council for Rural Areas of Scotland is funded directly from the Development Fund vote; its loans are at a higher rate of interest. However, SICRAS is a lender of last resort. if assistance under the Industry Act were available in a particular case the firm would not need to seek a loan from SICRAS.