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Consolidated Statement (EU Funds in the UK)

Volume 521: debated on Wednesday 19 January 2011

Since November 2006, HM Treasury has prepared a Consolidated Statement on the use of funds from the EU budget in the United Kingdom.

The coalition Government have set new standards for transparency in the UK. This is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account, to reduce the deficit and deliver better value for money in public spending. The Government are fully committed to transparency in the use of EU funds in the UK and to strong accountability for receipts of EU funding to the UK Parliament, to strengthen the audit and parliamentary scrutiny of the UK’s use of EU funds.

The coalition Government are also determined to ensure sound financial management of all EU funds. We need to ensure that simplified rules can go hand in hand with effective financial management of EU funds at all levels, taking a proportionate and risk-based approach to audit and financial control.

I therefore today lay before Parliament the third of these statements for the year ending 31 March 2009, along with the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) audit opinion and report.

The CAG has qualified his opinion on the statement, for the year ending 31 March 2009, on the issue of truth and fairness, and also the issue of regularity; and has set out weaknesses in accounting practice during the period covered by the statement. The coalition Government are introducing new measures to improve financial discipline of EU funds spent in the UK.

The coalition Government also hope this statement and the CAG’s audit opinion will be helpful to the European Court of Auditors and the Commission when they are performing their own audits and controls; and that the statement and the CAG’s audit opinion will encourage similar initiatives from other EU member states, whose contributions to improving financial reporting and management across the EU are also important.