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Ec (Expenditure)

Volume 83: debated on Friday 19 July 1985

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asked the Prime Minister what steps she is taking to persuade the European Economic Community to reduce expenditure; and if she will publish in the Official Report a table showing the percentage increase in European Economic Community spending since 1980, the percentage increase in the United Kingdom gross contribution, and the percentage increase in spending under the United Kingdom budget.

In accordance with the Council's conclusions on budget discipline, the 8 June ECOFIN Council reached an agreement by qualified majority to fix the reference framework for Community expenditure in 1986 at 29·7 billion ecu (about £17 billion). Within the framework, agricultural expenditure is constrained by the financial guideline, which requires that agricultural guarantee spending should increase by less than the rate of growth of the own resources base.The information requested is set out. The increase in the United Kingdom's gross contributions to the European Economic Community does not take account of the offsetting effect of the rebates it has received. These rebates effectively reduce the total gross payments during the period 1980 to 1984 by about 25 per cent. In addition, the United Kingdom will benefit from an abatement of its 1985 VAT payments of 1000 Mecu in respect of its excessive contribution to the 1984 Community budget. The calendar year is not an accounting period for the purposes of United Kingdom public expenditure. Information on the percentage increase in spending under the United Kingdom budget is available only for financial years.

  • (i) Percentage increase in European Community spending between 1980 and 1984–68·4 per cent.
  • (ii) Percentage increase in the United Kingdom's gross contribution between 1980 and 1984–74·1 per cent.
  • (iii) Percentage increase in United Kingdom General Government expenditure for the financial years 1980–81 to 1984–85–38 per cent.
  • Figures derived from the following sources

    (i) and (ii) European Community Court of Auditors report (final budget figures and actual own resources) and the supplementary and amending budget No. 1 of 1984.

    (iii) Public expenditure White Paper—Cmnd. 9428, and FSBR—HC 265.