Written Answers. - Industrial Grant Schemes.

127.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the names and functions of all grant schemes operated by his Department for new and existing industries; the amount made available by each in the last financial year; and how this compares with similar agencies in Northern Ireland.

The only source of grants for industrial development under my control is the Special Regional Development Fund which is designed to assist economic ventures in the western counties. Particulars of issues from that Fund in the last financial year were given on 15th May, 1968, in reply to a Parliamentary Question from Deputies Gilhawley and Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins. I am not aware of any similar scheme of assistance for underdeveloped areas in Northern Ireland.

128.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the names and functions of all grant schemes operated by his Department for new and existing industries; the amount made available by each in the last financial year; and how this compares with similar agencies in Northern Ireland.

Details of the various grant schemes coming under the aegis of my Department, are as follows:

(1) Industrial Grants

Grants are made available by An Foras Tionscal under the Undeveloped areas Acts and the Industrial Grants Acts towards,

(a) the cost of factory sites, site development, factory buildings, and machinery and equipment;

(b) the training of workers, and

(c) the cost of providing electricity supply.

In the financial year ended 31st March, 1968, grants totalling £8,750,660 were approved and a total of £3,056,362 was paid.

(2) Adaptation Grants

Under this scheme, grants could be made by An Foras Tionscal towards the enlargement of an industrial undertaking or the adaptation of its machinery, plant, equipment, buildings or other works so as to enable the undertaking to be carried on more efficiently or to enable it to engage in the manufacture of products not manufactured by it before the making of the enlargement or adaptation. Under the provisions of the Industrial Grants (Amendment) Act, 1966, the time limit for making application for an adaptation grant expired on 30th September, 1967. In the financial year ended 31st March, 1968, grants totalling £7,314,295 were approved and a total of £3,238,853 was paid.

(3) As already announced legislation will be introduced in the near future giving effect to (i) a new scheme of re-equipment and modernisation grants and (ii) modifying and extending the existing industrial grants scheme.

(4) Small Industries Grants

Under this scheme grants are made available by An Foras Tionscal to assist the establishment or development of small industries. The scheme is at present confined to selected pilot areas. It is contemplated that the scheme will eventually be extended to the whole country. In the financial year ended 31st March, 1968, grants totalling £84,126 were approved and a total of £13,378 was paid.

(5) Technical Assistance Grants Scheme:

Under the Technical Assistance Grants Scheme grants of up to 50 per cent of the cost of (a) the engagement of consultants and (b) training courses and study visits abroad may be given, in certain circumstances, to firms engaged in manufacturing industry with the object of promoting efficiency. In the financial year ended 31st March, 1968, a total of £174,684 was paid to manufacturers under the scheme.

The making of a comparison on the lines sought by the Deputy is not practicable because there are considerable differences between the types of industrial incentives, which are not limited to grants, in operation here and those in Northern Ireland.

Grants are also given by Córas Tráchtála for various purposes designed to assist exporters.