HC Deb 28 January 1969 vol 776 cc313-4W
Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the offset arrangements with the West German Government has been spent in each of the years since commencement; how much remains to be spent; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mulley

Figures for offset payments for the years from 1962 until 1968 are as follows:

Calendar Years Accountable Value of German Offset Purchases £million. (except 1967–68)
1962 £107
Financial Years
1964–65 £26 £175 million (Note 1)
1965–66 £42
1966–67 £62
1967–68 DM 479 million (Note 2)

Note 1: This includes further offsetting payments and deposits totalling £45 million in the period 1964–66.

Note 2: It is not possible to give a precise sterling equivalent since payments during the year straddled the date of devaluation. All that can reasonably be said is that the figure lies between £43 million and £50 million.

Complete figures showing the implementation of the current agreement are not yet available. The agreements for the years up to 1966–67 were satisfactorily fulfilled although there is still a small residue of unspent money in the Arms Deposit Account. As my right honourable Friend the Chief Secretary at the Treasury indicated in answer to my honourable Friend on 5th May, 1966, some part of the purchases for which provision was made in 1965 was to be made under contracts which were then still to be completed. Not all those contracts have been finally completed as some of the larger ones take several years to execute.

The 1967–68 agreement set a target for accountable payments in the defence and civil fields of DM 550 million. Payments for military procurement under Article 2 of the Agreement were DM 196.8 million out of a target of DM 200 million, the difference of DM 3.2 million was carried forward and added to the military procurement target in the current 1968–69 agreement. Payments for civil purchases under Articles 3 and 4 of the agreement totalled DM 282 million as compared with a target of DM 350 million. Under the terms of these articles the Federal German Government undertook to use their best endeavours to promote accountable purchases "up to" the target figure I have quoted. Performance would have been better but for the devaluation of the pound in November, 1967, which had an adverse effect on the implementation of the agreement.—[Vol. 727: c. 155–6.]

Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will list the goods purchased by the West German Government under the offset arrangements, together with the dates when the goods were first ordered;

(2) if the categories of goods purchased by the West German Government under the offset arrangements had been purchased before the agreement came into force; and what was the value of each category in each of the preceding five years.

Mr. Mulley

I regret that I cannot give the information my hon. Friend requests. The details of individual transactions must remain confidential between Governments. They are in any case so voluminous that it would hardly be practicable.