§ Mr. Ashton
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reason the application from Axgro Foods of West Butterwick, near Gainsborough for regional selective assistance which was referred to him by the DTI, reference RSA/99/0116, for relocating their factory to Misterton Bassetlaw was rejected; for what reason the firm was informed at 4 p.m. on 20 December that they had to submit evidence by 22 December; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Caborn
Axgro Foods Limited applied for a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant on 25 November 1999. All RSA applications are considered against published criteria, which include conditions that grant can be made available only to projects that contribute positive benefits to both the regional and national economy. The European Community restricts assistance to some industries in which there is over-capacity. These restrictions apply to some fishery and agricultural products.
On 20 December the Government Office for the East Midlands, responsible for the appraisal of this case, contacted the company to advise that the application may be subject to EC restrictions. It asked the company to provide additional supporting information, which was received on 22 December.
An indicative offer of RSA was made to Axgro Foods Limited on 23 December, which is subject to a full appraisal and clarification on the issue of possible EC restrictions.