§ Brian Cotter
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support schemes are available from the European Union for small and medium-sized enterprises in Britain; how much funding is available; and what proportion of this funding has been taken up by small firms in the last three years. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
The primary source of European Union support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom is the European Structural Funds. For the funding period 2000–06 the UK has been allocated approximately £10 billion from these funds.
The priorities for this funding were the subject of negotiation with the Commission which resulted in a number of agreed programming documents being approved during 2000 and 2001. Expenditure under the programmes can be undertaken until 2008.
Since each document was drawn up and negotiated on the basis of the needs of the area concerned, the way in which support for SMEs is addressed varies between programmes. Although each programme includes a number of activities which involve either direct or indirect support to SMEs, the funding under the programmes is not disaggregated in a way that enables the amounts available or spent only for the benefit of SMEs to be easily identified, and it would involve disproportionate cost to provide this information.