HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 c149W
Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of the Government funding of £35.1 million over four years in the 1998–99 publication Trade and Industry, The Government's Expenditure Plans, Sectoral Activities section 1.2 has been(a) allocated and (b) spent; which projects received funding, with the amount allocated per project; which projects were refused funding; and if she will make a statement. [77903]

Ms Hewitt

In May 1997, the Government allocated £35.1 million to the 186 winning bids which resulted from the sector challenge initiative. The budget was derived from both DTI's own funds and contributions from other Government Departments. The winning projects were recommended for support by an independent assessment panel and represented £109.5 million in total budget costs.

The winning bids were judged by their respective bidders to be focused on:

People/skills issues 65
Improving access to markets 64
The better exploitation of technology 55
Improving access to finance 11
Representation at trade fairs 4

To reduce the burden on business, the competition was divided into an outline and a full proposal stage. Some 605 outlines were received by the deadline of 13 November 1996. These were judged by an independent assessment panel against the criteria of impact, strategic fit, relevance, quality of content, partnership, value for money, additionality, financial viability and credibility.

340 bids were encouraged to proceed to the full bid stage and 307 full bids were received. From these, the 186 winners were selected.