§ Mr. Ronnie Campbell
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what EU regional aid has been secured for(a) Blyth Valley and (b) the north-east of England in each of the last two years. 
§ Mr. Greg Knight
Funding to the value of £4,143,902 has been secured from EU structural funds specifically for the Blyth Valley area in the last two years. In addition, a further £3,990,327 has been gained for projects covering the wider south-east Northumberland area; mostly in the form of business support measures funded from European regional development fund and training activities funded through the European social fund. Other region-wide projects will also provide benefits for the Blyth Valley area.
The total amount of EU structural funds secured for the north-east of England in the last two years is approximately £235 million. This includes the objective 2 and 5b programmes as well as various Community initiatives which operate in specified parts of the region. The north-east also benefits from a share of the national objective 3 programme which provides training and counselling for the unemployed. In addition, the north-east of England will continue to benefit from objective 2 funding until 2001, and a programme worth approximately £290 million received in principle agreement from the European Commission on 27 February 1997.
§ Mr. Hunter
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make representations to the European Union to ensure that on all occasions it promptly pays United Kingdom companies which are involved in EU-financed projects. 
§ Mr. Nelson
The Government take the late payment of commercial debts very seriously and is prepared to make representations to the European Commission about individual cases. The Department is ready to follow up the case which my hon. Friend previously brought to my attention as soon as the company concerned provides the further information that my officials requested from it.