§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what is the value of the EEC telecommunications initiative programme; and how much he expects to be spent in Britain;
(2) which regions of the United Kingdom are participating in the EEC telecommunication initiative; and if he will list the projects, with their programme spend value, in each region.
§ Mr. Atkins
The policy towards telecommunications in Europe adopted by the Council of Ministers is of significant value to the United Kingdom as a major influence on the liberalisation of European telecommunications markets.
If the hon. Member has in mind direct financial receipts, the only EEC telecommunications initiative to provide funding on a regional basis is the Special Telecommunications Action for Regional Development (STAR). Northern Ireland, alone in the United Kingdom, qualifies for support under this programme, and has been allocated 25 mecu—about £16.9 million—of the 780 mecu —about £527 million—total programme funding.
The only other exclusively telecommunications EEC initiative involving the provision of financial assistance is the Research and Development in Advanced Communications Technologies in Europe (RACE) programme of collaborative R and D projects. Total expenditure authorised by the Council of Ministers on the definition and main phases is 571 mecu—about £386 million. Of the 541 mecu allocated so far United Kingdom companies and other bodies may be expected to receive 161 mecu—about £105 million.