HC Deb 21 April 1970 vol 800 cc238-40
Q4. Mr. Moonman

asked the Prime Minister if he will enumerate and illustrate the kind of further studies which he has initiated in connection with the British application to join the European Economic Community with particular reference to industry, science and technology.

The Prime Minister

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to a question by him on 7th April.—[Vol. 799, c. 50.]

Mr. Moonman

Would not the Prime Minister concede that the White Paper was extremely modest in its references to the industrial and technological advantages of going into Europe? Is not there a case for an integrated study which looks seriously at the industries of innovation dependent on European collaboration, such as cryogenics, composite materials and the software side of computers, possibly prepared by an independent body such as P.E.P.?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend will be aware of the various studies that are being put in hand in connection with the application to join the E.E.C., particularly the conferences under the aegis of the Commission in which we are playing a part. With regard to some of the industrial and technological consequences for this country, he will probably have noted that at the last meeting of the National Economic Development Council it was decided that the council would proceed at an early meeting to further study of some of these matters, with particular reference to the concept of the European Fund.

Sir K. Joseph

While I do not suggest that money is the only motivation, will the Prime Minister study the marginal rates of tax on the higher levels of income in the Common Market countries, which are much lower than they are here, and consider whether this may contribute to the faster growth in the real national standard of living per head in those countries?

The Prime Minister

The matter of tax and tax rates has been well debated in the House during the last few days, and I do not think I need add to what has been said on these matters. This is not a matter which can adequately be dealt with in one question and answer, but if the right hon. Gentleman wants to draw that conclusion from that premise, he will also notice that Britain has by far the strongest balance of payments position of all the countries in Europe.