The Government have submitted Renaval applications for Plymouth and Gibraltar. My right hon. Friends and I hope to be able to decide soon whether to make further applications. Our decisions have been delayed by changes in the position in Brussels.
The Minister may not know that I was a member of the European Parliament's regional policy and planning committee which considered this programme. We were concerned that extra help, besides normal regional fund assistance, should go to areas where traditional industries were in decline. Can the Minister confirm that the shipbuilding areas in Britain that have had the biggest job losses will receive the greatest assistance from the fund, and can he tell the House the position on Tyne and Wear?
The position is this. I understand the concern of hon. Members about the Renaval programme. Hitherto, we have taken the view that it would be premature to make a final decision on the matter, although we have not decided against making a decision. We may make an application, but we have come to no final view. The problem is that a decision on Renaval has to be taken in the context of other objective 2 funding programmes because they impact one on the other. As soon as we can have a clear view of the whole, we shall be in a good position to make a final decision.