HC Deb 09 November 1982 vol 31 cc125-6W
Sir Anthony Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the overall rate of over-subscription of the European social fund in each of the past three years.

Mr. Alison

The European Commission has published the following rates of over-subscription in its annual reports on the activities of the social fund for the relevant year:

Per cent.
1979 60
1980 59
1981 74

These rates are calculated by expressing the amount of shortfall between the total volume of applications as submitted by member States and the fund's available commitments appropriations as a proportion of the latter.

The rates reflect the situation at the end of each year, that is when unused commitments from the current and previous years have been reallocated. The rates probably understate the seriousness of the problem in that a number of member States do not submit certain eligible, but non-priority, applications in the knowledge that the fund's resources will be insufficient to support them.

Sir Anthony Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the projects in the United Kingdom which received money from the European social fund in 1980 and 1981 under the pilot projects heading of aid from the European social fund.

Mr. Alison

The following is a list of projects which received financial assistance from the European social fund in 1980 and 1981, showing the sponsoring bodies and the amounts allocated:

1980 Scheme to demonstrate possible improvements in the employment and social progress of physically handicapped young persons. (St. Loye's College)—£8,000. Project for employment rehabilitation of the chronic unemployed. (National Association for Care and Resettlement of Offenders)—£140,320. Evaluation of the effectiveness of current methods of teaching English to migrants; production and validation of a new video programme. ( British Broadcasting Corporation)—£42,250. Training programme for a newly formed work group to develop common ownership enterprises. (Birchwood College)—£28,000. Training scheme for the setting up of small businesses and other entrepreneurial activities in deprived inner city areas. (Greater London Council)—£5,000. Training project for instructors and trainee craftsmen in the surgical footwear industry, aimed at developing a training programme suitable for use in other firms of similar nature. (Footwear, Leather and Fur Skin Industry Training Board)—£55 ,500.

1981 Retraining in modern practices and techniques of a group of engineers threatened with redundancy. (Teeside Polytechnic, Middlesbrough)—£49,250. Further training programme for 30 qualified people to enable them to find new employment with a view to setting up new enterprises in an area badly affected by unemployment. (Dartington Institute of Community Studies, Devon)—£28,700. Training programme for village shopkeepers in rural Wales to improve management techniques and maintain efficiency in order to provide better services for people in the countryside. (Development Board for Rural Wales)—£12,500. Training programme for 10 people to become community development workers in the rural areas of the Highlands and Islands. (Community Work North, Aberdeen College)—£86,700.

Sir Anthony Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the regional distribution of funds disbursed through the European social fund to projects in the United Kingdom in each of the past five years; and what has been the total benefit to the United Kingdom of European social fund funds in 1982 to date.

Mr. Alison

The bulk of allocations from the social fund to the United Kingdom are made in respect of schemes operating on a national basis or in a number of regions. It is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the distribution of fund support between particular regions.

The European Commission calculates that in recent years between 80 per cent. and 90 per cent. of total fund resources were allocated across the Community as a whole to operations which took place within the regions elegible for assistance from the European regional development fund. It is reasonable to assume that a similar proportion of United Kingdom allocations was made in respect of operations that took place within the assisted areas as they were defined up to August this year.

We estimate that fund allocations to this country in 1982 have totalled some £227 million so far. At least one further allocation is expected before the end of the year.