EU budget increases reek of a telling hypocrisy

If David Cameron wants to pursuade Britons he can get a decent renegotiation, perhaps he can explain why his previous boasts to have got the EU budget under control have come to nothing? It's a gravy train, and we've got to get off

Time to get off the gravy train
Alan Murad
On 31 May 2015 07:50

There is not a whiff of restraint in Brussels when it comes to spending. The EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Kristilina Georgieva, has announced another rise in the EU budget to a staggering €143.5 billion. With Britain's net contribution to the EU budget being around 13 percent, we will be responsible for roughly €11,000,000,000 of the EU budget next year.

It comes at a time when George Osborne plans cuts in all government departments, including £1 billion from Britain's defence spending.

David Cameron used to proudly boast he achieved a real term cut to the EU budget for the 2014-2020 parliamentary term in Brussels. Yet last year, and the year before that, the EU announced a budget increase. For all his posturing, Cameron can only stand by and watch as Brussels gradually erodes whatever budget restraints he boasted he had achieved.

You may recall the EU demanded a £1.2 billion surcharge from Britain in October last year. This was because the size of our economy was recalculated using a new method (which took into account the sectors of the economy which don’t produce revenue for the government, namely the drugs trade and prostitution).

This highlights the EU’s habit of continually demanding more and more money, rather than restraining its own reckless spending. It reeks of hypocrisy, but this is not unusual in Brussels.

Though the 2016 EU budget has now increased by 1 percent, last year’s budget received a 3.5 percent increase. These increases are quite routine.

Furthermore, it is worth noting there will still be a €10 billion gap between the payment commitments the EU will make, and payments they will honour in 2016. Ironically, the EU keeps expanding the budget and argues it is necessary to do so, because they have to cover unpaid bills from previous years.

This sustains the EU’s cycle of debt and lack of restraint, so they always have an excuse to raid British coffers and rip off taxpayers across Europe.

The figure of €153.5 billion is how much money the EU is allowed to commit. Yet Brussels will receive €143.5 billion of money to go on spending, so the shortfall will have to be met in 2017.

The Eurocrats demand austerity from member states; they criticise Britain and other countries for not cutting deficits fast enough. But the EU doesn’t judge its own profligacy by its own standards. Earlier this month, MEPs voted in Strasbourg to block plans to audit their office expenses.

There is no effort to disguise its own wasteful extravagance. This all comes during a time where EU Commissioners are doing their best to convince voters the institution is going to tighten its belt.

MEPs are also exempt from having to pay national taxation, even while they complain about tax avoidance by multinational firms. Instead, MEPs pay a ‘Community tax’, equivalent to a flat rate of less than 15 percent, so the average Eurocrat pays a much smaller portion of their salary in taxes than the typical British worker.

It's no wonder some member states like Germany want to keep Britain inside the EU. Britain is one of the few net contributors to the EU budget, along with Germany and France.

Brussels can’t burden the state and the British taxpayer while the Government is trying to reduce our spending deficit. These financial demands are just one more reason why the British electorate must vote to Get Britain Out.

Alan Murad is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out

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