HL Deb 20 May 1974 vol 351 cc1233-5

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government to state the total sums paid to the European Movement organisation, and whether any further contributions are to be made.


My Lords, as the Answer to the first part of the noble Lord's Question is rather long I will, with permission, have it published in the OFFICIAL REPORT. As regards the second part of the Question, Her Majesty's Government are currently engaged in a review of grants-in-aid to non-governmental organisations engaged in the promotion of cultural and information exchanges with Western Europe. It is hoped to complete the review in the near future. Meanwhile no disbursements are being made from the grants provided for in the 1974–75 Supply Estimates, pending the outcome of this review.

Following is the information referred to: The amounts of the grants-in-aid paid to date to the European Movement, and to a preceding organisation, Britain in Europe Ltd, are shown below:

Financial Year Amount
1964–65 2,500
1965–66 2,500
1966–67 2,500
1967–68 7,500
1968–69 7,500
1969–70 7,500
1970–71 12,500 (1)
1971–72 7,500
1972–73 20,000
1973–74 25,000 (2)
(1) Includes £5,000 for activities in connection with the Congress of the Council of European Municipalities.
(2) Includes £5,000 for activities in connection with the Congress of Europe.

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for answering the Question. May I ask whether he is aware that I regard the Answer as somewhat incomplete, because I think that we ought to know how much has been spent in recent years on propaganda activities on behalf of the European Movement. I think that we are entitled to know the actual amount that has been spent. As regards the second part of the Question, to which my noble friend referred in his Answer, am I to understand quite definitely that at the present time no further sums of the taxpayers' money are being devoted to the European Movement? Is he aware that this would not be consistent with the attitude of Her Majesty's Government, who are not only demanding renegotiation of the terms of entry into the E.E.C. but have actually decided that, at the appropriate moment, they will hold a referendum so that the people of this country can come to a decision?


My Lords, the details for which my noble friend asked are indeed contained in the part of the Answer which I thought could be most helpfully circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. As to the second part of his Question, I can assure him that there will be no disbursement to this or any other non-official organisation engaged in this work until the conclusion of the review to which I referred.


My Lords, with regard to the implications of my noble friend's Question, may I ask the Minister whether it would be true to say that there are few serious economists who would say at this moment that so far the E.E.C. is to blame for the United Kingdom's economic situation?


My Lords, that is a somewhat different and wider question, which I should be delighted to discuss at a later stage.


My Lords, when my noble friend publishes his figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT, will he include in them any sums which have been paid to any Members of either House, either by way of a fee or by way of expenses, in pursuance of the propaganda carried out by the European Movement?


My Lords, I do not include in the supplementation to my Answer, which will be circulated, the kind of detail to which my noble friend referred. It is an entirely separate question, which he must consider putting down separately.

Back to