HC Deb 31 July 1974 vol 878 cc226-8W
Mr. Dykes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will propose to the Council of Ministers that the Community should immediately set up a court of audit so as to improve its financial accountability.

Mr. Joel Barnett

I would refer the hon. Member of the answer I gave on 26th June to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle).—[Vol. 875, c. 463.]

Mr. Dykes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's attitude to the creation of a Community credit by the Community to help member countries in difficulty.

Mr. Dell

The European Economic Community already possesses short- and medium-term credit facilities to help member States in difficulty. The possibility of additional credits, to be financed by external borrowing, was discussed at the Council of Finance Ministers on 15th July. It was agreed that there should be further technical studies of this possibility before any decision is taken.

Mr. Wigley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total value of the EEC operating budget for 1974; what is the proportion of this to be contributed by each of the nine member States; which States will be net contributors and net beneficiaries from this budget; and by how much in absolute terms and in terms of contribution or benefit per capita.

Mr. Joel Barnett

The size of the budget of the European Communities for 1974 to be financed by the nine member States is 5,017 million units of account; i.e., £2,090 million at the present budgetary conversion rate of £1=2.4 units of account. This budget will be financed by the member States in the following proportions:

Belgium 7.0388
Germany 28.4738
France 24.2954
Itlay 18.2095
Luxembourg 0.1748
Netherlands 9.0174
Denmark 1.4053
Ireland 0.3484
United kingdom 11.0366

Figures on member States' receipts from the budget are not available; it is therefore not possible to give figures on their net positions.

Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the net contribution by the United Kingdom to the budget of the European Communities in 1974 under the present budgetary arrangements; and how this compares with the net contribution in 1973.

Mr. Joel Barnett

In 1973 the United Kingdom's gross contribution to the Communities' budget was £180 million, receipts were £77 million, making a net contribution of £103 million. The latest estimate of the United Kingdom's gross contribution in 1974 is some £200 million at 1974 prices.

There are difficulties in forecasting receipts as their timing is often uncertain, but the latest estimate is put at some £145 million, giving a net contribution of some £55 million at 1974 prices. The forecast of gross contributions for 1974 takes account of a substantial refund to be made this year under Article 32 of the Financial Regulation of 25th April 1973 in respect of the total of United Kingdom contributions attributed to the 1973 Community budget. This will bring the United Kingdom share of the budget in 1973 into line with that laid down in the Treaty of Accession (8.78 per cent.) Article 32 of the Financial Regulation provides for a procedure whereby member States are refunded at the close of the accounts for each financial year the difference between the amounts actually paid by member States attributable to that financial year and the amounts to be paid in accordance with the accounts for revenue and expenditure for the year. For the 1973 budget, this procedure will take place in August.

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