§ Ms Coffey
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what discussions he has had with the European Commission about Regional Challenge;
(2) who will judge projects applying for funding for Regional Challenge;
(3) what factors led to the exclusion of Thanet, Plymouth and West Cumbria from Regional Challenge;
(4) when the criteria for bids for Regional Challenge will be published;
(5) what consultations have taken place; on what dates and with whom to ascertain the news of national and local agencies about Regional Challenge.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
[holding answers 13 July 1994]: My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has discussed Regional Challenge with Commissioner Millan twice and has exchanged correspondence. We intend that Regional Challenge grant decisions will be taken by the Government on the basis of recommendations from the monitoring committees. Thanet, Plymouth and West Cumbria were not included because of their small population.
Guidance on applications will be issued in due course. Officials have held discussions with local authority associations on various dates. My right hon. Friend and I have received a number of letters from hon. Members and others.711W
§ Mr. Sainsbury
[holding answer 13 July 1994]: The structural funds objective 1 allocations were announced in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam) on 27 July 1993, Official Report, column 497. The objective 2 allocations were announced in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to my hon. Friend the Member for Planet, North (Mr. Gale) on 13 April 1994, Official Report, column 230. On those occasions the allocations were given in ecu—for convenience I repeat them here in sterling for the areas eligible for Regional Challenge.
1£ million Objective 1 (1994–1999) Merseyside 628 Objective 2 (1994–1996) North East England 237 Yorkshire and Humberside 241 East Midlands 61 West Midlands 285 Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire 253 Greater London 57 South Wales 145 1£ million, 1994 prices (£1 = 1.3 ecu).
The White Paper on competitiveness referred to total prize money for the first round of Regional Challenge competitions of £150—£200 million across the eligible English and Welsh areas, which also includes some classified under objective 5(b). The term top-slicing is misleading.