HC Deb 12 November 1984 vol 67 cc89-90W
Mr. Tim Smith

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about an advance of own resources payments to the European Communities in October.

Mr. Ian Stewart

The Commission has, in accordance with article 10(2) of Council Regulation 2891/77, invited member states to advance from 20 December to 20 November payments of own resources other than VAT in respect of agricultural, sugar and isoglucose levies and customs duties collected by the Government on their behalf in October. The Government are complying with this request. This advance follows the previous one from 20 November to 22 October which was announced to the House on 22 October (WA 467–468).

The advance will reduce the Commission's cash flow difficulties and enable the Commission to pay from the budget to recipients in the United Kingdom and other member states.

Pending parliamentary approval of a Winter Supplementary Estimate, payment of £130 million will be made by a repayable advance from the contingencies fund. The payment of levies and duties on 20 December 1984 which is made directly from the consolidated fund under section 2(3) of the European Communities Act 1972 will be reduced by the amount of the advance. There will therefore be no net addition to public expenditure.

Any further requests for advances will be considered in the light of the then prevailing circumstances.