HC Deb 12 May 1938 vol 335 cc1707-9
47. Mr. Neil Maclean

asked the Prime Minister wheher he will make an early statement to the House of the details, financial or otherwise, of any agreement recently concluded with the Government of Northern Ireland?

Sir J. Simon

Arrangements are being made for the circulation in the OFFICIAL REPORT of the terms of a Memorandum which embodies the Agreement reached with the Government of Northern Ireland on certain financial matters. As the House will be aware, a statement on these matters was made by the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in the Northern Ireland Parliament on 26th April. No other agreement, financial or otherwise, has recently been concluded with the Government of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Maclean

Will the Memorandum be submitted to this House, so that the House may decide?

Sir J. Simon

I think that, if the hon. Gentleman will look at the Memorandum, he will see its nature.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

May the Memorandum include a clear statement showing the added cost to the British Exchequer of the agreement?

Sir J. Simon

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at the Memorandum. If there is any question that it is desired to raise on it, perhaps it can be raised later.

Following is the memorandum:

MEMORANDUM embodying the Agreement reached with the Government of Northern Ireland on certain financial matters.

  1. 1. Despite the fact that agriculture in Northern Ireland is a Transferred Service, it is agreed that where agricultural subsidies are granted in Great Britain and circumstances are such as to justify corresponding subsidies in Northern Ireland, no objection will be raised to the cost being borne on the Vote of the Ministry of Agriculture of Great Britain. The application of this principle in individual cases will form the subject of inter-Departmental discussions between the United Kingdom Government and the Government of Northern Ireland so far as may be necessary.
  2. 1709
  3. 2. Under present circumstances it is not considered that there is any prospect of a deficit on the Northern Ireland Budget during the period of the proposed Trade Agreement with Eire. If, however, in some future and different circumstances there were a deficit on the Northern Ireland Budget which was not the result of a standard of social expenditure higher than that of Great Britain nor the result of a standard of taxation lower than that of Great Britain, the United Kingdom Government agree that it would be equitable that means should be found to make good this deficit in such a way as to ensure that Northern Ireland should be in a financial position to continue to enjoy the same social services and have the same standards as Great Britain.
  4. 3. So long as the Trade Agreement with Eire is in force, the United Kingdom Government will not exercise their right to reopen the question of the amount of the contribution of the United Kingdom Exchequer under the Northern Ireland Unemployment Insurance Agreement of the 29th April, 1935, if such a contribution exceeds £ 1,000,000.

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