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European Community Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)

Volume 973: debated on Thursday 8 November 1979

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the likely United Kingdom net contribution to the European Economic Community budget for 1980, 1981 and 1982.

The latest forecast for the net contribution to the Community budget in 1980 at 1979 prices is over £1 billion; on present trends it will continue to increase in subsequent years.A forecast of our net contributions to the European Communities and to the European Investment Bank of about £1 billion in 1980–81 was published in "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1980–81", Cmnd. 7746, on the same basis as in earlier public expenditure White Papers. The Government expect to publish estimates of contributions for later years on that basis in the next public expenditure White Paper.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest estimated United Kingdom gross contribution to the 1980 draft EEC budget as amended by the Council on 16 October.

As I told the House on 23 October—[Vol. 972, c. 150–52]—the letter of amendment to the draft budget for 1980 increased expenditure by 417·3 MEUA—about £282 million at the 1980 budget exchange rate—and thus increased the United Kingdom's gross budgetary contribution to around 3,180 MEUA—approximately £2,147 million.I now understand, however, that at the same time, the letter of amendment also incorporated revised estimates by the Commission of member States' levies and duties contributions in 1980. These revisions have the effect of further increasing the United Kingdom's estimated gross contribution to around 3,231 MEUA—about £2,181 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is intending to take immediately to reduce the United Kingdom contribution to the European Economic Community Budget.

We are negotiating with out partners and have impressed on them the need for agreement at the November European Council on measures that will bring about a rapid and very substantial reduction in the United Kingdom's net contribution.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the Government's estimate of the balance of payments burdens in the United Kingdom in 1980 due to (a) the net payment by the United Kingdom to the EEC budget and (b) the common agricultural policy, respectively.

The estimated total net United Kingdom contribution to the Community budget in 1980 is estimated at over £1 billion at 1979 prices, over 90 per cent. of which could be attributed to our net contribution to the CAP.Non-budgetary costs of Community membership are particularly difficult to forecast, but in 1978 were estimated at something over £200 million net, of which about half related to commodities subject to import levies under the CAP.These figures are based on the "exporter pays" system of monetary compensatory amounts. A reversion to "importer pays" would alter the balance between budgetary and non-budgetary flows but would not affect the total burden on the balance of payments.