§ Mr. Illsley
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has to relax capital spending controls for those local authorities entitled to bid for European Community RECHAR programme moneys to enable them to bid for a fair entitlement of the money available under the scheme.
§ Mr. Robin Squire
I have been asked to reply.
On 30 June 1992 my Department issued details of the 1992–93 arrangements for the treatment of European regional development fund—ERDF—grants to local authorities through the "other services" block, which covers the generality of ERDF grants for which this Department is responsible. These will ensure that local authorities will receive supplementary credit approvals to provide 100 per cent. public expenditure cover for ERDF receipts for RECHAR projects. From 1993–94 onwards, public expenditure cover will be provided at 100 per cent. for all forecast ERDF receipts.
In addition, although there are no plans to relax the capital finance rules specifically for those local authorities which are eligible for ERDF, from 13 November 1992 to 31 December 1993, every authority will be able to spend virtually all of the capital receipts they receive.
§ Mr. Hinchliffe
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what action he has taken to attract and secure a second RECHAR programme;
(2) what response he has made to the report on proposals for a second phase of the Community's RECHAR programme for the regeneration of coal mining areas; and if he will make a statement;
(3) if the will support local authority attempts to secure a second RECHAR programme of EC aid for coal areas.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
[holding answer 16 December 1992.]: The present RECHAR initiative is only one of 13 Community initiatives financed by the European structural funds.
The Edinburgh European Council decided that after 1993:The allocation for Community Initiatives should be between 5 and 10 per cent. of total resources committed under the Structural Funds. They should mainly promote cross-border, transnational and inter-regional cooperation and assistance for the outermost regions, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity".
Detailed decisions on future Community initiatives, including the possibility of a second RECHAR initiative, will not be taken until after next year's review of all the regulations on the structural funds.