Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 12:00 am, 13th February 1997

I have not yet seen the detail of what Commissioner van Miert said, but the conclusion, from what my hon. Friend says, is surely obvious. The fact is that state subsidies cannot hide the effect of high social costs. They add to the levels of taxation and, in so doing, they damage competitiveness and employment prospects. That is precisely what we have seen across continental Europe. It is a problem that we have avoided in the UK, which is why our unemployment is so much lower.