§ Sir John Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the operation of the border areas measures within the context of the European regional development fund.
§ Dr. Boyson
The first border areas special measure, Regulation 2619/80, made available some £4.5 million in 1980–85 towards the development of tourism, communications, small firms and craft industries in the seven district council areas on the border with the Republic of Ireland (Armagh, Derry, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Newry and Mourne, Omagh and Strabane). Approximately 75 per cent. of the funds available were allocated for the provision of tourism infrastructure, 10 per cent. for the promotion and development of craft industries, and the balance for improvements in communications, mainly roads by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.
The new special measure of December 1985, Regulation 3637/85, provides a further £9.5 million and is intended to extend and reinforce the first measure. The geographical scope has been extended to cover all of Northern Ireland with the exception of the Belfast urban area, thus including 25 of the 26 district council areas, and the range of aids available to small firms will be significantly expanded to include investment aid, promotion of innovation and the setting up of development agencies. A special programme for the implementation of this new measure will shortly be drawn up and submitted to the European Commission for approval.