§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 22 March 1999]: Funding to encourage a wide range of agricultural activities, including farm diversification, is available in the six areas designated to receive assistance under the English Objective 5B Structural Fund Programmes. The Northern Uplands Objective 5b area includes parts of Lancashire but does not include Chorley. No grant aid for farm diversification is available outside the designated areas.
The Rural Development Commission (RDC), which is the Government Agency responsible for promoting economic and social development in rural England, can provide redundant building grants in priority Rural Development Areas, including parts of Lancashire. These grants can help owners to renovate and bring back into productive use, buildings which are lying idle and semi-derelict, or which are becoming redundant for their current use. The buildings must be used for business purposes once renovation works are complete, with the aim of providing new job opportunities, or protecting existing jobs. As from 1 April these grants will be available from the new Regional Development Agencies.