§ Mr. Kaufman
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on progress in the negotiations with the European Commission for renewal of the shipbuilding intervention fund.
§ Mr. Adam Butler
I have reached agreement with the Commission under the fourth directive on the Government's proposals for a £120 million intervention fund over two years. The amount of the first annual tranche from 16 July 1979 will be £65 million. The period from 16 July 1980 to 31 December 1980, when the fourth directive expires, will be at an annual rate of £55 million. The remainder of the £55 million to be used from 1 January 1981 to 15 July 1981 will fall to be considered under the successor to the fourth directive. The maximum level of aid, including shipbuilders' relief, will be 25 per cent. of contract price. Cases not involving competition with member States will not need to be submitted to the Commission for approval. Aid in excess of this level may be given in exceptional cases with the prior agreement of the Commission.