§ Mr. Gale
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to ensure the continuation of EU Objective 2 funding(a) for the United Kingdom and (b) for Thanet at its current levels in real terms after 1999; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mrs. Roche
[holding answer 15 July 1997]: The European Commission's proposals for reform of the European Structural and Cohesion Funds after 1999 are due to be published on 16 July. Detailed proposals for amending the regulations will come at a later date and will be the basis for negotiation. This may lead to substantial changes to the current structure, including the system of objectives. It will be a Government priority to secure reform which delivers a system that is affordable, efficient, durable and fair. It is too early to estimate the likely effect on specific regions.