Your precision is admirable, Mr. Speaker.
The agreement provides that the net expenditure relating to agriculture markets will increase by less than the rate of growth of the own resources base. This provision should allow greater headroom within the VAT ceiling for expenditure on non-agriculture policies, in accordance with the maximum rate provisions of the treaty.
Is it not a fact that the budgetary discipline document will do nothing to prevent agricultural expenditure from increasing as a proportion of the budget? Given the vast surplus in all farm products, is there any justification for such an increase?
The budgetary discipline provisions provide a framework within which the decisions about agricultural prices will have to be taken. As a result, the increase in the 1985 draft budget for CAP spending stands at 5 per cent., which is the lowest figure for several years. Under the Labour Government the average annual increase was 28 per cent. Thus, the measures are already having an effect.