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Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has had any correspondence with the Commissioner of the European Community concerning Article 101 of the Treaty of Rome.

My right hon. Friend has had no correspondence on this subject with the Commission arising from Article 101 of the EEC Treaty.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that Article 101 concerns the distortion of competition in the Community? In case Her Majesty's Government should wish to reintroduce the regional employment premium to solve some of our difficulties, will they now write to the Commission asking whether it comes within the terms of this article or whether they would be prohibited from taking such a step?

My hon. Friend will recognise that there is nothing to prevent such action being taken, but equally he will recognise that matters of competition are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection and those concerning the regional employment premium are for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.