HC Deb 07 July 1998 vol 315 c432W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy not to support a reduction in the size of the EU structural funds for the period 2000 to 2006 in a manner which will lessen the chances of those NUTS 2 areas which, on current criteria, would qualify for Objective I status, from so qualifying. [48899]

Mrs Liddell:

The Government believe that it is in the interests of the United Kingdom, as a substantial net contributor to the EC budget, to resist any large increase in the size of the Structural and Cohesion Funds, particularly in the light of the forthcoming enlargement of the EU to Central and Eastern Europe. This view is shared by all the major net contributors to the EC budget.

At the same time, the Government are actively seeking a fair deal for the United Kingdom and its constituent countries and regions. The Government recognise that, in order to ensure that enlargement is affordable, all the current Member States must be prepared to accept reductions in their Structural Fund receipts. But those reductions must be shared equitably: the Government would strongly resist any proposals which hit the United Kingdom disproportionately hard, particularly in comparison with richer Member States.

Mr. Wigley

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 29 June 1998,Official Report, column 24, if he will make a statement on those areas contained in the new NUTS 2 areas for Wales. [48822]

Mrs. Liddell

The statistical justification for the new NUTS 2 areas for Wales was provided in my response to my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham (Mr. Timms) of 29 June 1998,Official Report, column 24.