Britain is the second biggest financial contributor to the vile EU superstate, which takes our money - £257 a year from every home in Britain- and bosses us around. Now the EU, about to become a single political superstate, just as they always said it wouldn't, is grabbing 60 per cent more of our money! Does anyone care, or even notice? I do- and you should, too! Remember, it was Tony Blair who gave up the financial concessions negotiated by Margaret Thatcher, and started this downward spiral. ALAN FRANKLIN.
This following story is hardly news and was widely forecast, but with attention spans being so short it is good that all are reminded of it - frequently!
But if the government had any guts at all it would stand by the principle that if France and the others don ‘t keep their side of the bargain, nor should we keep ours!
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 23.8.09
1. UK's payments to EU jump by 60 per cent
Britain's payments to the European Union will soar by almost 60 per cent next year, according to figures "buried" in government documents.
By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor
The Treasury statistics show that the UK's net contribution to the EU will increase from £4.1 billion this year to £6.4 billion in 2010/11.
The figures were published in the Treasury's annual Community Finances statement, which was slipped out last month just before parliament broke up for its summer recess.
The revelation will fuel the political debate over whether Britain benefits from being in the EU, after more than a quarter of UK voters in this year's European elections backed parties which want to take Britain out of the EU.
It comes six weeks before Irish voters go to the polls in a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, in which a "yes" vote would put the controversial treaty – which transfers national powers to Brussels and creates a powerful new EU president – on course to become law in all 27 member states.
Last night the Conservatives branded government "incompetence" for the rise in contributions. The Opposition said the increased payments were the result of the "selling out" of Britain's annual EU rebate by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at an EU budget-setting summit 2005.
The latest Treasury figures also show that Britain is currently the second biggest net contributor, behind Germany. The new net UK contribution of £6.4 billion is the equivalent of £257 for every household in Britain – or 3p on the standard rate of income tax.
Britain's budget rebate – won by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 – is to shrink from £5.1 billion this year to £3.3 billion in 2010/11.
The percentage increase in the net contribution between this year and next year is by far the biggest between any two years since 2003, according to the Treasury figures.
In 2003/4 Britain's net contribution was £3.2 billion, and in following years was at £3.9 billion, £4.4 billion, £3.5 billion, £4.2 billion and £3.0 billion before hitting £4.1 billion this year under current spending plans.
Britain's EU rebate was designed to compensate the UK for the high costs of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which benefits Britain much less than other countries because of its relatively small farming sector.
Before the last big round of EU negotiations, Mr Blair promised parliament that the "UK rebate will remain and we will not negotiate it away."
However, at the European Council in December 2005 Mr Blair negotiated away around 20 per cent – or £7.2 billion – of the rebate Britain would have received over the period 2007 to 2013.
As part of the "deal", Britain received promises of cuts to the CAP subsidies paid to farmers. However, these have not so far been forthcoming, with the French government digging in its heels over plans to reform the CAP. [If France and the others don ‘t keep their side of the bargain, nor should we! -cs]
The December 2005 negotiations saw allies of Mr Brown, then the Chancellor, claiming that the former prime minister had gone against the wishes of the Treasury – sparking a fresh battle in the long running political war between the two men.
However, in 2007 it was reported that Mr Brown had caved in and agreed to rubber stamp the original deal.
Last night Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "The consequences of Labour's rebate sell-out are becoming clear, if only in these buried figures. Gordon Brown and Tony Blair signed billions of pounds of our money away in return for absolutely nothing.
"At a time when our economy is in recession and public service budgets are under pressure, Labour's incompetence is allowing billions of pounds to be siphoned off to Brussels."
At the European elections in June, the UK Independence Party, which wants to take Britain out of the EU, secured 16.5 per cent of the vote, pushing Labour into third place. Votes for other parties which advocate withdrawal, including the British National Party, English Democrats and Socialist Labour Party, took the total Eurosceptic vote to more than 26 per cent.
After Germany and the UK, the biggest net contributors to the EU budget are the Netherlands, France and Italy. The biggest net beneficiaries are Greece, Poland and Spain
2. The EU is hardly value for money
Telegraph View: The increase in our contribution to the EU's coffers comes at the worst possible time, when tax receipts are falling and Government spending is increasing.
Thanks to some feeble negotiation by Tony Blair in 2005, Britain's net contribution to the EU – the amount we contribute minus the amount we receive in terms of grants and rebates – is going to increase by more than £2 billion next year. Having sworn that he would "not negotiate [the UK's rebate] away", Mr Blair proceeded to do precisely that. His action was endorsed by the then chancellor, Gordon Brown. The justification for the deal was the one trotted out so often when Britain makes concessions to the EU: our partners would resent it if we did not give in, and if we did, they would reciprocate with concessions of comparable generosity.
In this case, the quid pro quo was supposed to be that the French would reform the hideously wasteful system of agricultural subsidies. Has that happened? No. Is there any evidence that it will happen? No. Britain, once again, appears to have been suckered into making unilateral concessions without any reciprocal gestures from other EU members. [If France and the others don ‘t keep their side of the bargain, nor should we! -cs]
Is it any surprise that support for Britain's continued membership of the EU is at an all-time low? The increase in our contribution comes at the worst possible time, when tax receipts are falling and Government spending is increasing. The Labour Government's failure to stand up for Britain's interests within the EU, and its insistence on enforcing every last piece of EU legislation, however recondite, has, for many voters, discredited the organisation. No wonder the Government has broken its promise and refused the electorate a vote on the Lisbon Treaty: it would surely result in an overwhelming rejection. If voters in Britain are properly to appreciate the benefits of EU membership, the Government is going to have to be much more honest – and modest – about what those benefits actually are. [They won’t, because they can’t find any credible benefits! -cs]