§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent communications he has received from the European Commission concerning the breach, or potential breach, of the terms of any EU legislation concerning state aids or taxation benefits for(a) firms in Northern Ireland, (b) shipbuilding and (c) motor 611W manufacture or assembly, stating the topic and purpose of each communication. 
§ Mr. Caborn
I have been asked to reply.
Under their general powers to monitor state aid, in June 1999, the Commission requested information on a Selective Financial Assistance grant to a company in Northern Ireland. The UK supplied the required information, demonstrating that the grant had complied with the terms of state aid approval of Selective Financial Assistance.612W
The UK has not received any recent correspondence from the Commission concerning the breach of the state aid rules as they apply to shipbuilding.
In December 1999, the Commission opened a formal investigation procedure into part of the proposed aid package for the BMW/Rover plant at Longbridge, Birmingham. This procedure is a normal part of the state aid notification process where the Commission requires all information including from third parties in order to assess the case.