HC Deb 15 March 1983 vol 39 cc115-7W
Mr. Proctor

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what types of aid have been given to Northern Ireland by the European Community in each of the past five years; what has been the value of this aid in each case; whether he expects Northern Ireland to be granted further aid in the near future; and, if so, in what respect and with what value.

Mr. Prior

The European Community has provided grant aid to Northern Ireland under its three major funds—the European regional development fund, the European social fund and the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund. Northern Ireland has also benefited from aid under the Euratom uranium exploration scheme. The Community has also made a financial contribution to Government expenditure on infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland through the supplementary measures for the United Kingdom.

Levels of aid can be expressed both as commitments and receipts. Commitments are the total amounts allocated by the Community over a number of years to qualifying projects. Receipts are the amounts paid each year against these commitments. There is inevitably a time lag between the two since payments are only made when the relevant expenditure has been incurred.

The tables below show both commitments and payments for each of the three major funds. Receipts are shown for United Kingdom financial years and commitments for EC financial years. For energy measures aid is shown as commitments only and SMUK as receipts only.

£ million
1978–79 4.0
1979–80 16.0
1980–81 21.0
1981.82 16–4
*1982–83 17.6
Total †75.0

£ million
1978 22.0
1979 27.7
1980 19.2
1981 27.9
1982 23.4
Total †120.2
* To February 1983.
† In addition, Northern Ireland has received to date £0.5 million from £6.2 million of commitments for ERDF non-quota measures.

£ million
1978–79 14.95
1979–80 14.96
1980–81 23.01
1981–82 25.00
* 1982–83 28.73
Total: 106.65
* To February 1983.

£ million
1978 16.07
1979 24.64
1980 25.70
1981 30.00
1982 48.38
Total: 144.79

(a) guidance Section: (i) Schemes aiding individual capital projects:
Receipts £ million
1978–79 0.94
1979–80 1.47
1980–81 2.96
1981–82 1.56
1982–83* 2.95
Total: 9.88
* To February 1983.

Commitments £ million
1978 1.09
1979 2.40
1980 2.50
1981 2.69
1982 2.43
Total: 11.11

(ii) Other general guidance schemes:

1978–79 2.46
1979–80 3.21
1980–81 3.35
1981–82 4.69
1982–83* 1.06
Total 14.77
* To February 1983.

Full figures for commitments are not available.

(b) Guarantee Section:

All market support payments are recouped on a United Kingdom basis by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce.

It is therefore impossible to allocate total payments from the scheme on a regional basis.

Energy Measures:

In the years 1977–79 the Community committed £105,000 under the Euratom Uranium Exploration Scheme to two companies engaged in uranium prospecting in Northern Ireland.

Supplementary Measures for the United Kingdom:

Under the terms of this arrangement, the Community has contributed the following amounts towards Government expenditure on infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland.

1980–81 £m. 1981–82 £m.
Roads 25.6 14.8
Rail 1.2 2.1
Water and Sewerage 10.9 12.6
Advance Factories 2.5
Land Reclamation 0.2 0.2
Telecommunications 33.0 31.6
Housing 17.8 56.0
Total 91.2 117.3

Northern Ireland, as one of the most deprived areas in the EC, is expected to remain a major beneficiary of EC aid for the foreseeable future. Her Majesty's Government will continue to put forward for EC aid as many suitable schemes as possible in the main areas outlined above, and will of course pursue any other means of channelling the Community's concern for Northern Ireland into tangible financial assistance.

The Public Expenditure White Paper published in March 1983 sets out the Government's estimates of receipts expected from the ERDF and the ESF, as follows:

1983–84 £m. 1984–85 £m. 1985–86 £m.
ERDF 29 30 30
ESF 40 40 60

There will also be substantial receipts from the EAGGF. Those from the guarantee section cannot be forecast on a regional basis, but we expect receipts from the guidance section of the order of £14 million per annum over the next four years. In addition we are still working with the European Commission to find a means acceptable to all member states of bringing to a successful conclusion the initiative under which special Community aid will be made available to Northern Ireland. The Government have also made application to the Commission for aid for studies in the integrated operations area and we are awaiting their response.