But the Minister expressed his disappointment at the Commission's failure to reflect fully the national priorities in the UK's Objective 2 allocations; those parts of the country designated as areas of urban and industrial decline. He said: ' The Government believes that our original bid for Objective 2 funding was realistic. But we realised that the size of the overbid across the Community meant that every Member State's bid would have to be pared back to some extent.
'At 76% of our original bid we have done better than the Community average of 75% and better than almost every other Member State. New areas on the map, include parts of London, Thanet, Stoke on Trent, Burton on Trent, Barrow and Gibraltar.
' But the Commission's allocation does not fully reflect our national priorities. We pressed the Commission to recognise the justification for a much greater coverage of urban areas. We asked for much greater coverage of London and the East Thames corridor, in particular. We also believe other urban areas, like parts of Bristol, Derby and Leicester should have been included.
' And overall, too, we have come out well. We have doubled the population covered by 'Objective 1' status - which provides up to 75% of project grants. We have also doubled our Objective 5b coverage which, like Objective 2, provides up to 50% of project costs.'