HC Deb 08 March 2004 vol 418 c1277W
Mr. Stephen O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evaluation her Department has made of the regional development agency-led business support pilots in the(a) North West, (b) West Midlands and (c) East Midlands; and how these regions compare to non-participating regions. [157231]

Jacqui Smith

The independent research organisation, ECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd., was commissioned in December 2003 to make an initial qualitative assessment of the progress of the 3 Regional Development Agency-led pilots, compared to non-participating regions.

Fieldwork for the evaluation is still in progress, and findings will be available in late spring.

Brian Cotter

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what money her Department has allocated for business support schemes; and how much of this money has gone unclaimed in each of the last five years. [149478]

Ms Hewitt

The following table shows the final net allocation for the programmes defined as Function A: Promotion of enterprise, innovation and increased productivity in the Departmental Estimates and Expenditure Plans Reports/Departmental Report for the years 1998–99 to 2002–03.

Financial year Final allocation (£million)
1998–1999 596,4
1999–2000 647.7
2000–01 693.3
2001–02 793.4
2002–03 779.7

Under business support schemes businesses normally make applications that, where they meet the relevant scheme criteria, result in offers being made by the Department. Information on the amount of such offers which go unclaimed, in the sense that they are not taken up, is not readily available and could be compiled only at disproportionate cost.