The European and external relations committee seeks written evidence on how best to spend the funds which were worth over£1bn to Scotland (2000 - 2006). Due to the enlargement of the European Union from 15 to 25 member states, the money available for Scotland could be cut by as much as 55 per cent in 2007 - 2013.
'Structural funds are vitally important to Scotland and the fact that the money available is being reduced by such a large amount obviously makes it particularly important that these funds are delivered wisely and effectively and that it reaches those areas that need it most.
'If the Scottish Executive intends to alter the way in which the funds are distributed throughout Scotland, and it is my understanding that they do, then our committee has a role in scrutinising such proposals and ensuring that the people involved in this on a day-to-day basis have their say.'
The inquiry will examine:
* how Scotland can maximise the reduced funds available
* how well the funds have been distributed to date
* possible changes to how funds are distributed
* the main priority areas for funding
In addition to examining the future distribution of Structural Funds, the committee's inquiry will respond to UK government's National Strategic Regional Framework (NSRF) consultation document. This document poses a series of specific questions about how the UK government plan to manage Structural Funds for 2007-2013.
The full remit of both parts of the inquiry is available on the parliament's website.
The final day for receipt of written evidence for the NSRF part of the inquiry is 15 May 2006. The final date for receipt of written evidence for the inquiry as a whole is 26 May 2006. Due to the very tight timescales that the committee is working to it will not be possible to submit evidence after these dates.