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Revenue Raising

Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 24 November 1982

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52.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals have been considered by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community for raising additional revenue.

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that any increase in the 1 per cent. of VAT which automatically goes to Brussels from the pockets of British citizens will not take place until the House passes an appropriate motion or approves the relevant instrument? Are there any other means whereby the Council or the Commission can increase significantly the EEC's revenue from the United Kingdom in a way that does not require the permission or assent of the House?

The hon. Gentleman's assumption is right and the answer to the first part of his supplementary question is "Yes". In the Government's view, the own resources of the Community are sufficient for its needs and the priority should be, within existing resources, to establish effective control over the rate of growth of agricultural spending.

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that he will not allow the enlargment negotiations with Spain and Portugal to founder because of the restriction on the Community's own resources?

It is important that the negotiations should not founder. We see no immediate connection between the negotiations and the issue of own resources.