To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the interruption of payments made by organisations in the UK from the Interreg IV B North Sea Region programme; whether he has made representations to the European Commission on this issue; and if he will make a statement.
My officials have been working closely with the North Sea Programme Managing Authority in Denmark to provide the necessary evidence to persuade the European Commission to lift the payment interruption it imposed on UK partners. The Government submitted the evidence requested in December 2011. The Commission requested further information in March 2012. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Baroness Hanham, met Commissioner Hahn in April and raised in the strongest possible terms our concerns about the delays in getting responses from Commission officials and the resultant effect the interruption was having on the cash flow of the small and voluntary organisations participating in North sea projects. My officials submitted further evidence in May. I understand that on