§ Mr. Redwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the proportion of regional assistance determined by(a) the EU and (b) the UK Government.
§ Mr. MacShane
Current arrangements for EU regional assistance through the Structural and Cohesion Funds apply from 2000 to 2006. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced to the House on Thursday 6 March,Official Report, column 86WS, the Government have launched a consultation on the future of European Union Structural Funds after 2006.
The Government have put forward the EU Framework for Devolved Regional Policy as their preferred approach. This would focus EU regional assistance on the poorest member states of the EU; richer member states such as the UK would finance their regional policy domestically, and we would increase UK Government spending to ensure that the UK nations and regions did not lose out financially as a result of reform.