HC Deb 18 February 1975 vol 886 cc1091-2
7. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much the United Kingdom has been allocated for retraining from the EEC Social Fund since 1st January 1974; and what further applications he is now making.

11. Mr. Hurd

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what grants have been allocated to the United Kingdom for retraining purposes from the EEC Social Fund since 1st January 1973; and what further applications by his Department for such grants are still pending.

Mr. John Fraser

For 1973 about £19 million; a further £19 million for 1974; and £6 million so far for 1975. Training applications in respect of 1975 still pending amount to £10.5 million. Further applications will be submitted in respect of Government-operated schemes of training, to run from August 1975 into 1976, and yet other applications, including some of a smaller scale and non-governmental, are expected to be submitted as the year progresses.

Mr. Blaker

Is the Minister aware that those figures are welcome? In view of the importance of retraining, especially when the Secretary of State is pressing for more investment in new machinery, will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, in consultation with the Secretary of State for Industry, he is pressing, and will continue to press, for the maximum possible allocation to Britain from the fund?

Mr. Fraser

I give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that my Department seeks the maximum possible allocations from the Social Fund for training and for other purposes.

Mr. Hurd

Can the Minister say what proportion of the Government's training programme is now financed by the EEC? Will he confirm what I think he said in his original answer, that the processing and preparation of applications will go on without any check so that the applications will be submitted before next year?

Mr. Fraser

I cannot, without notice, give the hon. Gentleman the proportion of the total cost of that training programme paid out of the Social Fund. There was no delay in submitting the applications which were made. I am anxious that the Commission should deal with them quickly and pay the money quickly after making the allocation.

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