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European Community Budget

Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 31 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much Northern Ireland's share of the United Kingdom's payments into the European Economic Community was from 1 January 1973 to 31 December 1981; how much Northern Ireland's share of the receipts was; how much of these receipts each year represented a cash addition to the Northern Ireland economy; and how much was used to offset Government expenditure on Northern Ireland.

It is not possible to determine in total how much of the United Kingdom's contribution to the European Community can be attributed to Northern Ireland since actual payments are made on a national and not on a regional basis; nor is it possible to indicate the full extent of Northern Ireland's share of total United Kingdom receipts from the Community. Receipts which are earned by the United Kingdom under the guarantee section of the agricultural fund, estimated to be some £720 million in 1981–82, are not identified regionally. The figures shown in the following table represent those receipts which can be identified as being earned by Northern Ireland.

Identified Receipts by N.I. £ million
1973–74
1974–753·4
1975–763·6
1976–7716·0
1977–7816·8
1978–7922·3
1979–8035·6
1980–8150·3
1981–82*30·6
†55·2
* To 31 December 1981.
† To 31 March 1982.

Note: The Table above excludes payments under the guarantee section of FEOGA.

Included in the preceding table are receipts from the European regional development fund, from which Northern Ireland has received 15 per cent. of the United Kingdom quota in recent years, and receipts from the European social fund, from which Northern Ireland has received about 21 per cent. of the United Kingdom's allocation in recent years.

The nature of the operation of the various Community funds means that only limited information on receipts is available. It is not possible therefore to identify the amounts which represent a straight addition to money otherwise available to the recipients. Certain Community receipts are retained by the Government, but these are taken into account when the Government are determining the appropriate level of public expenditure in the United Kingdom as a whole for any year. In effect, therefore, Community receipts enable public expenditure in the United Kingdom, and hence in Northern Ireland, to be maintained at a higher level than would otherwise be feasible.