Thursday, October 6, 2011

EU votes through inflation-busting £5billion budget increase

The European Parliament has voted through an inflation-busting £5billion increase in the EU budget - defying David Cameron's calls for a freeze.

MEPs have agreed a rise of nearly 4.9 per cent - more than double the two per cent inflation-only increase the Prime Minister had backed. The shock move came soon after William Hague told the Tory party conference in Manchester that EU costs were under control. Mr Cameron had said that a real-terms freeze made sense at a time when everyone is having to be more prudent.

But generous MEPs on the budgets committee have now capitulated to the European Commission's original demand for a budget of more than £112bn. The budget this year was £107bn - a 2.9 per cent rise on last year in the face of MEP demands for a huge six per cent rise and a call from Mr Cameron for an absolute freeze.

Referring to that argument, Mr Hague told the party conference in Manchester: 'When we said that the costs of the EU budget were out of control we were right, and now we have had unprecedented success in bringing it under control.'

UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen blasted Mr Hague's calm attitude. Ms Andreasen, a former EU chief accountant, said: 'Mr Hague's comments are patently untrue.

'Far from being under control, MEPs today voted for a rise that would equate to some £300m that will come from UK taxpayer's already-hit pockets.'

Ms Andreasen, who sits on the budgets committee and opposed the rise, added: 'Mr Hague might be able to pull the wool over the eyes of Conservative delegates, but the British public will soon feel the truth through an extra £300m burden.'

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