HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 cc129-30WS
Mr. Hume

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress of plans for the Integrated Development Fund announced in March 2003 and on the quality of engagement with local key bodies and individuals; whether there will be technical support provided by the Departments; and whether there are safeguards to ensure that the fund is treated as additional rather than mainstream spending. [133008]

Mr. Pearson

The purpose of the Integrated Development Fund (IDF) is to provide additional support to strong wide-ranging partnerships initially in a small number of areas. On 12 August 2003, I formally invited bids from the Integrated Development Fund in the context of integrated development plans for the North West, West Belfast and Greater Shankill and the South Down fishing villages.

I can confirm that all the key local partner organisations have been engaging positively in each of the three areas to progress the development of integrated plans and identify the resources which may be required to support the plans.

Relevant Government Departments, in their role as active partner organisations, are involved in providing the necessary information and support, and helping to ensure that plans are consistent with existing Government strategies.

I have made clear that the monies available to the Fund are additional and intended to be used to remove particular blockages where there is compelling evidence that there are no resources available from any other sources, including Departments' own spending plans, for the purpose. The removal of such blockages should be seen to enable the full implementation of plans to go forward. The Fund is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for existing mainstream funding.