§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the Government would be prepared to concede greater Community control over European regional policy in return for an enlargement of the European Regional Development Fund; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Les Huckfield
The Government have welcomed the increase in the size of the fund from approximately £208 million in 1976 and 1977 to approximately £375 million in 1978 as this enables the fund to make a greater contribution to removing regional imbalances within the Community. The United Kingdom Government have accepted the Commission's proposals for a regular and comprehensive review of regional problems and policies and the co-ordination of regional aid schemes, but both the Commission and member States have recognised that member States themselves have the best knowledge of all the significant facts required to assess the needs of their regions.