Oral Answers to Questions — European Community Membership

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1975.

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Photo of Mr Robert Banks Mr Robert Banks , Harrogate 12:00 am, 7th May 1975

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the consequences of Great Britain's withdrawal from the EEC on matters within the responsibility of his Department.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

Withdrawal would affect my Department's diverse interests in different ways. But I doubt that the consequences would on balance be very great one way or the other. The main arguments for and against withdrawal rest on the broad considerations set out in the Government's White Paper on Renegotiation.

Photo of Mr Robert Banks Mr Robert Banks , Harrogate

Is the Secretary of State aware that valuable research work is being undertaken on water pollution alone as a result of EEC grants to the tune of some £250,000? What is his assessment of the cost to taxpayers of continuing this sort of research programme if Britain were to withdraw from the EEC?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I have had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Council of Environment Ministers in the EEC, which I found interesting and productive, and I thought that much of the work going on was useful. If, however, the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that this is one of the major arguments pro or anti withdrawal, I cannot honestly pretend that this is so.