§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures his Department is taking as a result of the European Commission's approval of the RENAVAL programme for the Plymouth travel-to-work area.
§ Mr. Leigh
The RENAVAL programme enables the Department to introduce regional enterprise grants into the Plymouth travel-to-work area and this we shall do with immediate effect.
The programme is designed to support our regional policies of increasing competitiveness, encouraging innovation and business development and improving the skills of individuals.
Regional enterprise grants, up to £1 million in total, will be available to small firms employing fewer than 25 people for investment in new equipment and towards the costs of developing or improving products or processes.
I am sure that RENAVAL and the help now available under regional enterprise grants will be of enormous benefit to small businesses in the Plymouth area. It is a useful addition to the support already available under regional selective assistance and the enterprise initiative.469W
The grants will be administered from our Plymouth office. Regional selective assistance continues to be available to larger firms and consultancy support continues unchanged.