Until 1996 Strathclyde was a local government region located in southwestern Scotland and was home to approximately 2.2 million people – almost half the population of Scotland. The main urban centre of the region was and remains the city of Glasgow, with a population of some 700,000. In recent years Strathclyde has experienced a severe decline in its main industries – coal, steel, shipbuilding and other heavy engineering: between 1975 and 1994 the region suffered a fall of 59.6 per cent in its manufacturing employment. At the time this research was undertaken, regional unemployment rates stood at 9.5 per cent (compared with the UK average of 8.2 per cent), a figure that masked local concentrations of unemployment of over 20 per cent in, for example, Glasgow city centre. The level of industrial decline in the region has ensured its eligibility for EU assistance through the Structural Funds. Strathclyde has fallen within the Western Scotland Objective 2 assisted area, aimed at converting regions which have been seriously affected by industrial decline. The northern part of the region, now administered by Argyll and Bute Council, qualifies for funding under the Highlands and Islands Objective I programme (which was allocated £242 million for 1994–9), for the economic adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind. The Strathclyde region has also received funding from several of the Community initiatives, designed to target specific problem areas, and these include RECHAR I and II, RENAVAL, URBAN and RESIDER II. Total EU funding in Strathclyde between 1988 and 1997, by way of illustration, was approximately £614 million, with a further ECU304 million allocated under the 1997–9 Objective 2 area programme.