HC Deb 31 January 1983 vol 36 cc10-2W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether, and in what circumstances, payments are made by the European regional development fund to inner city areas in any of the countries of the European Community when these cities are not located within the assisted areas designated by the regional policy of the respective member states;

(2) what grants under the European regional development fund are payable to inner city areas by virtue of their inner city status, as opposed to their being within a development area;

(3) if he will list in the Official Report the inner cities for which his Department proposes to approach the European regional development fund for financial assistance as outlined in a memorandum of 13 December, discussed with local government representatives by officials on that date.

Mr. MacGregor

Article 3 of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 724/75 provides that aid from the European regional development fund may be given in respect of projects inaided areas established by Member States in applying their systems of regional aids, and in which state aids are granted".

The term "assisted area" is peculiar to certain parts of the United Kingdom and is an example of one such type of "aided area".

In the Government's view the districts designated under the Inner Urban Areas Act, which was approved by the Commission under article 93 of the Treaty of Rome, come within the definition given in the regulation. Applications for grant from the ERDF towards eligible projects are submitted by the public authorities concerned. The decision on whether to grant such aid rests ultimately with the European Commission, after consultation with its fund management committee and, in certain cases, the European Community's regional policy committee.

Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will make it his policy that, in approaching the European regional development fund for the inclusion of inner city areas for assistance from that fund in 1983–84, he will seek to ensure that such funds are additional to the existing help that comes from the European regional development fund to the United Kingdom and not a redirection of assistance currently being given to depressed regions;

(2) what is the amount of finance his Department is seeking from the European regional development fund in 1983–84 for use in the inner city areas; and if he will estimate the percentage reduction in the cash available for other areas from the European regional development fund arising from the redistribution proposed by his Department.

Mr. MacGregor

The United Kingdom's share of the quota section of the fund is fixed by the regulation. The proportion of that share which is awarded in respect of projects in inner urban areas will depend in the first instance on what eligible applications are received, and in the second on whether or not they are approved by the Commission. In practice, I expect there to be enough funds available in 1983 to meet all eligible and worthwhile applications.

Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the ports whose names have been submitted by his Department to the Commission of the European Community in the current year with a view to receiving financial assistance from the European Community towards their development.

Mr. Eyre

I have been asked to reply.

In the current year two projects, from the Forth and Inverness port authorities, have been submitted to the Commission for assistance from the European regional development fund.

In 1982 projects for ERDF aid were submitted to the Commission from the following ports:

  • Barry
  • Blyth
  • Falmouth Docks
  • Garston
  • Grimsby
  • Hull
  • Immingham
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newport
  • Plymouth
  • Salcombe
  • Seaham
  • Sunderland
  • Tees and Hartlepool
  • Tyne
  • Workington

I have already undertaken to write to the hon. Member about the future possibilities for EC support for investment at Holyhead.

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