§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the forecast payment from the European Union with regard to the Merseyside Objective 1 area for(a) 1997–98 and (b) 1998–99; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Meale
The payment from the European Union was, for 1997–98, £63.672 million and the forecast payment for 1998–99 was £53.457 million.
The Objective 1 Programme on Merseyside is now close to full commitment and while spend on ERDF, in particular, has been slower than expected this will increase substantially as the Programme draws to a close.