§ Mr. Sheerman
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to provide matching funds for co-operative development agencies to enable them also to obtain grants from the European Economic Community social fund.616W
§ Mr. Trippier
While the Government fully support the development of the co-operative sector and have recently extended the funding of the national Co-operative Development Agency for a further six years, we have no plans to fund local co-operative development agencies. Many of these organisations, which have no formal links with the national agency, are funded by local authorities. Where such public funding exists it is possible that it could be quoted as matching public authority support for applications to the European Social Fund in respect of particular training courses that agencies may run, provided all the fund's criteria for eligibility are met.