Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report


  At last month's hearing, you asked about Treasury involvement in the proposed expansion of the Aylesford Newsprint mill. Firstly, I should confirm that it is not the case that, as you suggested at the hearing, proposals were turned down by the Treasury because it did not have many employment opportunities. I understand that Michael Meacher also said at your recent hearing that the Treasury was not vetoing the project.

  Jonathan Shaw, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, wrote to the Chief Secretary late last year and to me in April this year, expressing support for the project, and for Government assistance. The Chief Secretary and I have both talked with Jonathan about the project. Jonathan's letters enclosed the August 1999 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, commissioned by the management of Aylesford Newsprint Ltd.

  In addition, support for Aylesford has been an unsuccessful candidate from DETR for funding through the Capital Modernisation Fund, although this largely reflects the fact that the CMF is not intended to provide direct funding to the private sector other than for direct public service delivery.

Stephen Timms MP

December 2000

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