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Green Pound

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why the figures that he gave in the Written Answer to the Question of the hon. Member for Westmorland on 21st July on the actual expenditure as a percentage of the total Community budget on the guaranteed section as defined, are different from those given in the Europen Commission's publication, "Importance and Functioning European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund", Brussels, 1978, page 24.

The hon. Member probably has in mind the table on page 41 of the publication referred to, not that on page 24.The reason for the difference is that the two tables are drawn at different stages in the accounting procedure. The figures for EAGGF guarantee expenditure in the Commission publication are the commitments notified to the Commission by member States in the calendar year: the audit board figures used in the reply given on 21st July exclude substan- tial amounts not regarded as spent in the year, but include amounts which were regarded as spent in the year, although notified as commitments in earlier years. A reconciliation is set out at pages 8790 and table 9 of the audit board report on the accounts for the financial year 1976.Similar accounting differences affect the figures for total expenditure, and the figures for total disbursements appear in table 19 of the audit board report for 1976. The disbursements relating to the Development Funds were excluded in calculating the percentages in the answer on 21st July as the Development Funds are financed outside the Communities Budget.The audit board's reports and the tabulations they contain were the nearest equivalent to the United Kingdom Appropriation Accounts and thus provide the best measure, after the event, of actual allocation of resources. Member States' contributions to the Communities' resources in each year were adjusted to meet these total disbursements.