§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total value of construction work contracts placed by the European development fund of the European Economic Community in 1979; what percentage of these contracts was awarded to British and French firms, respectively; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Tebbit
Excluding contracts awarded within the recipient ACP States, the total value of construction works contracts financed by the European development fund in 1979 was 86.58 million units of account—£51 million approx. The percentage of these contracts awarded to British and French firms respectively was 12 and 34 per cent.
At 31 December 1978 the cumulative value of construction works contracts financed under the fourth European development fund had been 207 million units of account—£124 million approx—of which 3.95 per cent. had been awarded to British firms and 46.5 per cent. to French contractors.
It takes time for companies to break into a new market, and this is reflected in the cumulative figures for the early years of EDF procurement. The performance of our contractors has been improving steadily, as the 1979 figures show, but there is still some way to go before we can be satisfied. My Department is 216W therefore actively encouraging United Kingdom contractors to pursue more EDF opportunities.