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Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)

Volume 978: debated on Monday 4 February 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will undertake to refuse to accept a net contribution to the EEC in excess of £300 million in 1980–81.

The matter of our budget contribution is currently under negotiation. It is premature to anticipate a specific outcome, given that the Commission's paper on possibilities for additional community expenditure in the United Kingdom became available only on 1 February and that action on the basis of this will be an integral part of a solution. We have told our partners that we are seeking a genuine compromise but that our margin of manoeuvre is small.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress Her Majesty's Government are making in securing a reduction in the £1,000 million in the Government contribution to the EEC budget for the year 1980–81.

My recent tour of Community capitals indicated a widespread desire to get the problem of our budget contribution solved. An important step in this direction was the issue on 1 February of the Commission's paper on possibilities for increased Community expenditure in the United Kingdom. The Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Cossiga, assured my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister during his visit on 29 and 30 January that, as President of the Council, he would play an active role in finding a generally acceptable solution.