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European Assembly Members

Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the EEC Council of Ministers about the conditions of service in any directly-elected EEC Assembly.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
(Mr. John Tomlinson)

These questions have not been discussed by the Council of Ministers but I understand that they are under consideration in the European Parliament itself.

As we have been told by the Prime Minister and by the French that the Assembly, if it is directly elected, will not have any increased powers, and as we know that the present delegates to the European Assembly manage without any salary at all, will the Foreign Secretary make it perfectly clear to the Council of Ministers, regardless of whether the European Assembly is discussing it, that the rumoured salary of £25,000 plus vast expenses is absolutely out of all line with the rate for the job? The House very much objects to it.

The Community's budget procedures are very complicated. The budget of the Parliament is regarded as non-obligatory expenditure on which, within overall limits, the Parliament has the last say. The hon. Gentleman's views will no doubt serve to emphasise to those concerned the need to avoid extravagance in framing the necessary provisions.

Can my hon. Friend say whether the salaries of British Members of this Assembly will be subject to British income tax?

As I am not in a position at the moment to say anything about the provisions—since they have not been subject to ministerial consideration—I am not able to say how those salaries will be taxed.