I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.
I would refer the Deputy to the Government statement of 1 October 1992, which refers specifically to the funding of county enterprise partnership boards and to the establishment and membership of the boards.
Funding for the boards will be provided as follows: by way of an additional £50 million of public funds; by way of additional EC Structural Funds through the EC global grant for local development being arranged with the European Commission and contributions of over £100 million from the financial institutions by way of loans and equity. In addition, a specific expenditure position statement will be prepared by the relevant State agencies for each county. These will be incorporated into the county action plans which will be based on an assessment of the needs and requirements for each county.
Evidence of commercial relevance will be required in respect of enterprise ventures and the bases of selection and policies whereby individual projects are approved locally will be established. Guidelines will be agreed by an interdepartmental steering group, representative of all relevant Departments, for the policy basis of selection — for example in relation to sensitive sectors — by the boards of individual projects. The boards themselves will be the final decision-makers for those individual projects within the guidelines.
Enterprise projects submitted to county enterprise partnership boards for funding will be evaluated in terms of commercial viability by an enterprise subcommittee of the board. Personnel designated by the financial institutions will assist in the evaluation and the board will decide the most appropriate method of funding, whether by direct grant, loan, interest subsidy or equity for approved projects. Officials of my Department are now liaising, and will continue to liaise, with the financial institutions on the detailed implementation of the scheme.
Loans by the financial institutions will be made available on favourable terms, including no guarantees in the case of incorporated entities, and the underwriting criteria will reflect a balanced view of the financial institutions' good commercial practice and social responsibility in playing their part in achieving the aims of the county enterprise partnerships in tackling the unemployment problem.
Discussions are continuing with the financial institutions, in particular with building societies and with the insurance companies on further contributions to the overall enterprise fund. The Government are satisfied that there will be a further positive response from the financial institutions arising from these discussions. Equity capital will be included in the further contributions, in particular from the insurance companies.
Each county enterprise partnership board will comprise a chairperson and 15 directors on rural boards and 11 directors on urban boards as detailed in the statement of 1 October.
An establishment team, consisting of representatives of theProgramme for Economic and Social Progress secretariat, the special projects officer of the Department of Finance, and the county Development officer or a nominee of the relevant county manager will, in co-operation with myself, work together in the various counties/areas to establish the new boards.
Full consultation will be undertaken at local level with the county development teams, with State agencies and other groups as appropriate. In particular, the establishment team as part of the local consultative process, will consult with the area partnership companies and Leader groups on the structures which would be most appropriate in a particular area.
Nominees for representation on the boards will be appointed from the public and community sectors. A meeting of delegates from all local community organisations will be convened, at which the concept of the county enterprise partnership boards will be fully explained. Delegates will be requested to nominate three community representatives to the boards.
The employer, agricultural and trade union organisations were asked to nominate their representatives for each partnership board. The employer organisations will nominate two representatives and one will be appointed to chair the board.
The establishment team are now in contact with the relevant people in each county and the new enterprise initiative is proceeding rapidly.