Central Policy Review Staff

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton 12:00 am, 29th February 1972

asked the Prime Minister what changes he intends to make in the structure and personnel of the Central Policy Review Staff in the event of the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Economic Community Treaty of Rome.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Central Policy Review Staff, like the rest of the administrative structure of Government, will adapt itself progressively to our membership of the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether anything to do with the Common Market has already been referred to the Central Policy Review Staff—for instance, the effects of entry on any parts of our economy—and can he assure us that, like the Rothschild Report, advice from this body to Ministers will be available to the House for discussion before it is discussed in the Council of Ministers?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

There are certain aspects of the work of the C.P.R.S., for example, about research and development, on which it is possible to publish a report of the kind to which the hon. Gentleman referred. But of course the bulk of the C.P.R.S. work is of the same kind as that done by Government Departments and it is not customary to publish this either to the House or to Select Committees. As for the question of the European Community, since the decision of the House last October it has been quite natural for the C.P.R.S. to take into account in its reviews the situation when we become a member of the Community.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Will my right hon. Friend consider giving the Leader of the Opposition an opportunity to reveal in confidence to the Central Policy Review Staff what he has been so coy about revealing to the House or the nation, namely, the details of the scheme by which he would have joined the Communities without accepting Community law?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I do not think it needs the C.P.R.S. to consider that. The House can form its own judgment.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

Can the Prime Minister say whether any agency of Government has attempted during the past year to assess the costs and benefits of our entry into the Common Market?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Government White Paper dealt very fully with that whole matter.