European Union: Budget

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:55 pm on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Lord Barnett Lord Barnett Labour 2:55 pm, 14th June 2005

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer and appreciate that it is difficult for the Treasury to find short answers to say nothing. Would not the simple answer to my Question have been, "Not a lot"? My noble friend has nothing to apologise for; we understand that the Prime Minister is under a little pressure at present. Does he accept that in practice it means a challenge for the Government to make clear that a major alternative is possible; namely, substantial reform of the budget perspective? In those terms, will he make clear that there is no need to rush for this; it will not be settled next week, next month, or indeed this year, and it would not matter if it were because it does not come into force until 2007? Will my noble friend give us a clear assurance that the Government have no intention of making even the tiniest concession on the budget rebate without it being agreed clearly that there will be major reform of the budget including, not least, the common agricultural policy?