HC Deb 23 November 1988 vol 142 cc1-2W
Mr. Neil Hamilton

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, following Royal Assent to the European Communities (Finance) Bill on 15 November, the United Kingdom has yet made available its contribution under the 1988 intergovernmental agreement; and if he will make a statement about the granting of any further advance payments or overdraft facilities to the Community.

Mr. Brooke

The Government have today made a payment of £561,813,967.41 (851,644,560.25 ecu), representing eleven twelfths of the amount due from the United Kingdom under the 1988 intergovernmental agreement (IGA). The remaining instalment of £50,884,368.87 (77,422,232.75 ecu) will be paid on 1 December.

The Government have also made an advance payment of the non-VAT own resources which would otherwise have been made in December. The advance, under article 10(2) of regulation 2891/77, amounted to £158.4 million and it extinguished the Commission's outstanding overdraft with the United Kingdom under article 12(2) of the same regulation. The overdraft totalled £80.1 million. The balance of the advance was paid in the normal way from the Consolidated Fund under section 2(3) of the European Communities Act 1972.

The Commission requested the advance payment of December's non-VAT own resources because it is still experiencing cash flow problems. These will continue until all member states have paid their IGA contributions. Meanwhile, the Commission is asking non-payers to make available overdraft facilities under article 12(2) of regulation 2891/77; and is restricting its drawings from those who have paid the IGA to the amount which would otherwise have been available under article 12(2).

Article 10(2) and 12(2) facilities do not affect the total amount which the Community is authorised to spend during the year. Commission requests for advances or overdrafts do not, therefore, involve any addition to public expenditure.