§ Mr. Soames
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support she has given to the south-east in each of the last five years; and what she plans to give in the next two years. 
§ Alun Michael
[holding answer 16 June 2003]: Direct support from the Department to the regional food sector falls under two main areas: support for the development of the sector as a whole via Food From Britain (FFB) and through schemes under the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP). In addition to this, financial support is also available from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) to which the Department provides funds. Over the last five years, financial support for food from the south east was as follows:
projects are among the wide range of activities that are eligible for support within the budget allocated to the Farm Diversification category of the RES.
SEEDA is also supporting the development of two enterprise hubs linked to the food sector with £840,000 over a three-year period from autumn 2002. It is also developing plans to make available a substantial amount of funding over the next three years (2003–04 to 2005–06) to support the development of the local food sector in the south east to implement aspects of the Regional Economic Strategy and the Delivery Plan for Defra's Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food.