European Regional Development Fund

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21 October 1992.

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Photo of Mr David Knox Mr David Knox , Staffordshire Moorlands 12:00, 21 October 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total value of grants that Scotland has received from the European regional development fund since its inception.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

Since the inception of the European regional development fund in 1975, Scotland has benefited from awards totalling more than £1 billion.

Photo of Mr David Knox Mr David Knox , Staffordshire Moorlands

Will my hon. Friend say how Scotland has fared under the European structural fund, and how it compares with other European Community countries?

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. We have an excellent record on not only the European regional development fund but the structural fund. Since 1979, nearly £1.5 billion has been allocated, which compares favourably with our European partners.

Photo of John Reid John Reid , Motherwell North

However much money Scotland receives from Europe, it is as nothing compared with the industrial devastation that has been wrought by the Government. Why should we expect the Europeans constantly to bail out a Government who betrayed Scottish steel workers, Scottish miners, their commitment to stay in the ERM, their promise not to devalue and their promise of economic recovery? The Government should be prepared to fight for Scotland and Britain first rather than depending on others to do it for them.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong if he thinks that nobody is fighting to help in Lanarkshire. The Lanarkshire development agency, Industry Scotland and everybody else is working to find the best possible solution to bring work back to Lanarkshire. He is wrong to criticise what we are hoping to achieve.

Photo of Mr Robert Maclennan Mr Robert Maclennan , Caithness and Sutherland

Does the Minister accept that if the Government's support for increased expenditure from the regional development fund to the highlands and islands is to prosper the Government will have to support larger budgetary allocations to regional development throughout the Community, in accordance with the views of the newly reappointed Commissioner, Mr. Bruce Millan? Is he prepared to accept increased structural expenditure within the European Community in Scotland's interests?

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

It is early days to give a decision. We are fully alive to the needs of the highlands and islands area and its campaign for objective-one status. I cannot predict the outcome of the forthcoming negotiations, but the Government will continue to ensure that the needs of the highlands and islands are kept to the fore.