31. Mr. Lee
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what machinery exists to assess the size of the Imperial contribution paid by the Government of Northern Ireland; and what factors are taken into account for the assessment.
§ 33. Mr. Delargy
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the amount of 971 the Imperial Contribution paid to the Exchequer by the Northern Ireland Government is determined.
§ Mr. Green
The Joint Exchequer Board, established under Section 32 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and consisting of a representative of H.M. Treasury and a representative of the Ministry of Finance, Northern Ireland, with an independent Chairman appointed by the Crown, determines the size of the Imperial contribution each year. Section 23 of the same Act provides that they should determine a sum which they consider to be just, having regard to the relative taxable capacity of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Board works on the general principle that, so long as rates of taxation in Northern Ireland are the same as in the rest of the United Kingdom and expenditure on Government services is also on the same levels having regard to the special needs and circumstances of Northern Ireland, the Imperial contribution should be whatever is left over of the revenue of the Northern Ireland Government after meeting their actual and necessary expenditure.
May I ask the Minister whether he would agree that this can be used as a form of subsidy to Northern Ireland? In view of that, will he take note of the fraud case which has been heard in Northern Ireland, and at which a Committee of the Northern Ireland Government is looking but is unable to get copies of the transcript of the trial because of the lack of legislation on this issue here? Will the Minister ask his right hon. Friend whether, in view of the enormous importance of this issue to us who find certain moneys for this kind of thing, he will cause legislation to be introduced so that the Committee of the Northern Ireland Government can get copies of the transcript?
§ Mr. Delargy
Can the Minister say whether the House has any control whatever over the public money which it 972 authorities to be spent in Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. Delargy
I am referring to the subsidies which this Government provide to the Northern Ireland Government and the relief from taxation which is also granted in Northern Ireland.