HC Deb 27 April 1971 vol 816 cc215-6
12. Mr. Moate

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest estimates he has made of the cost to the balance of payments in the next five years if Great Britain should join the European Economic Community.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

There are many factors involved. The Community has not yet replied to our proposals on the United Kingdom contribution to the Community budget. So I have at present nothing to add to what my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy told the House on 16th December.

Mr. Moate

Does my hon. Friend agree that the contribution to the Community budget is only one of a number of serious adverse effects if Britain signs the Treaty of Rome, totalling probably over £500 million a year? Does he also agree that if there were such a heavy balance of payments burden this country would be prevented from pursuing those policies of growth which would be necessary to obtain the so-called dynamic effects?

Mr. Macmillan

It is not possible to quantify the possible charges across the exchanges to the extent my hon. Friend has done. Certainly my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster gave a figure for the adverse effect on trade balances of £200 million to £300 million, but he warned that this was a very tentative estimate. I have no further information which would enable me to give a more precise figure or to comment on my hon. Friend's figure. Many factors are involved, including the benefits which we should get and the greater dynamism and expansion in the economy which joining the Common Market would bring.

Mr. Deakins

Will the United Kingdom have to pay an increased contribution to the Community budget in the event of Norway and Denmark not joining at the same time as Britain?

Mr. Macmillan

The level of the contribution is one of the matters under negotiation. Since the Community has not yet replied to our proposals I cannot reply to that question.