HL Deb 16 July 1984 vol 454 c1326

Lord Diamond asked Her Majesty's Government:

If the new system for the United Kingdom's financial contribution to the EEC agreed at Fontainebleau had been in effect ab initio, what effect (in sterling terms) would that have had on the net payments actually made in respect of the past four years.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Cockfield): During the past four years the Government had to negotiate ad hoc refunds each year. These were becoming progressively more difficult to negotiate. As a result, our refunds were on a declining trend. The agreement at Fontainebleau gives us a fairer and more soundly based system for the United Kingdom's financial contribution to the Community. The system is both lasting and automatic in its operation. It gives the United Kingdom from 1985 onwards a rebate of 66 per cent. of the gap between our share of VAT payments and our share of expenditure from the Community's "allocated budget".

The table below shows the net refunds we would have received had the Fontainbleau system applied to the period 1980 to 1983 compared with those we actually secured:

Net Refunds received Net Refunds if Fontainbleau system had applied
£ million
1980 645 388
1981 783 392
1982 624 679
1983 441 629