§ Mr. Speller
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under which European Economic Community regulation or directive the figure of 35 per cent. for population within the United Kingdom that may obtain European regional development fund funding was laid down; if this percentage is still in force; and if he will make a statement on its application to the county of Devon.
§ Mr. Butcher
The main regulation governing the European regional development fund (1787/84) provides that the regions or areas where fund assistance may he given to projects or to national programmes of Community interest are limited to those aided areas established by member states in applying their systems of regional aids. No European Community instrument lays down a specific limit for the percentage of the United Kingdom population that may obtain this assistance. Proposals to grant regional industrial aid need to be accepted by the European Commission under articles 92–4 of the Treaty of Rome. The United Kingdom Government reviewed the map of assisted areas in Great Britain in 1984. The Government then had reason to believe that a proposal to make the map cover more than 35 per cent. of the working population would probably lead to difficulties with the Commission. The Government took this into account when reaching their decisions on the map. These decisions were notified to the Commission, which raised no objection. As a consequence of the Government's decision in 1984 the areas in Devon which are eligible for this aid from the fund are those parts of the county which are within the travel-to-work areas of Plymouth and Bude.