§ 22. Mr. Skinner
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the latest estimate for all grants paid to the private industrial sector by his Department and the total number of firms receiving taxpayers' money since March 1974.
§ Mr. Cryer
Between March 1974 and March 1978 grants and subsidies paid by my Department to the private sector amounted to about £1,814 million at 1977 survey prices, including forecast expenditure of £363 million in 1977–78. Records are not kept of the number of firms receiving financial assistance. It is only since 1974 that assistance to individual firms has been published, in the Department of Industry journalTrade and Industry. Prior to this the information was held to be confidential.