HL Deb 08 March 1995 vol 562 cc26-7WA
Lord Mulley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much of the revenues of Northern Ireland are received, directly or indirectly, from the European Union; and whether, on the present basis of assessment, this would be greater if (a) Northern Ireland was an independent state within the European Union; or (b) joined the Republic of Ireland.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Baroness Denton of Wakefield):

Under the single programming document, which was agreed on 29 July 1994, Northern Ireland will earn 1233 mecu (approximately £956 million) for the period 1994–1999. A further 125 mecu (approximately £97 million) will be earned from the Community initiatives during the same period. Northern Ireland will also benefit from the recently announced special package of EU assistance. The peace initiative programme has been allocated 300 mecu (approximately £233 million) over the next three years. Under the Commission's guidelines, up to 80 per cent. of the funding will be available for activities in Northern Ireland.

In addition to these direct sources of funding, it is estimated that £117 million will be earned in 1994–95 and about £139 million in 1995–96, mainly through the guarantee section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund. However, the bulk of guarantee section receipts are disbursed centrally and details of these payments are not maintained at regional level. Certain other small payments are made by the European Commission direct to recipients and are not passed through the United Kingdom Government.

The question of how much revenue Northern Ireland would receive from the European Union in the event of it becoming an independent State or joining the Republic of Ireland is purely hypothetical. If these circumstances arose it would be a matter for the EU to decide at that time what financial assistance could be made available.

*Exchange rate 1.29 ecu/£.