HL Deb 12 July 1983 vol 443 cc785-6WA
Baroness Elles

to ask Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the Council of Ministers of social Affairs on 2nd June 1983 with regard to the method of deciding allocations to individuals projects (apart from those with automatic priority in the poorest regions) and whether any decision for allocating extra Social Fund aid to employment "blackspots" in otherwise prosperous regions.

The Minister of State, Privy Council Office, and Minister for the Arts (The Earl of Gowrie)

The Council decided that 40% of the main part of the fund should be available for projects in the "super priority regions" (i.e., Northern Ireland, Ireland, Greece, the Mezzogiorno, Greenland and the French Overseas Departments), It was decided further that the rest of the main part of the fund should be concentrated on other areas of high unemployment and industrial restructuring. The detailed application of these basic regional priorities will be determined by the European Commission by way of the fund guidelines. The Commission is to continue its inquiries into a statistical method for determining the fund's geographical priorities.

On the subject of unemployment blackspots, it was agreed in addition that in drawing up the guidelines the Commission should pay special attention to localities with exceptionally high unemployment rates compared with the relevant national average.