§ 35. Dr. Lynne Jones
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action her Department is taking to make up the shortfall in university capital equipment identified in the Dearing report. 
§ Mr. Battle
The issue of university infrastructure and equipment needs is being considered within the Comprehensive Spending Review. In the meantime, the Government have demonstrated their commitment to maintaining state of the art equipment within UK universities through the increased funding of £13 million provided by the Research Councils, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Education and Employment for the 1997 round of the Joint Research Equipment Initiative (JREI). This raised the total amount of public funds for this round of the scheme to over £34 million, which with the associated contributions from the private sector, has provided research equipment worth some £80 million. We also announced in January that the JREI would continue on an annual basis.