Monday, August 09, 2010

£20.8 million a day to EU

copied from the Democracy Movement

Every day Britain pays £20.8 million more to the EU than we receive back in grants and subsidies.

That's £7.6 billion being given to the EU this year alone, at a time when public services are being cut and taxes increased in order to pay off Britain's debts.

In the recent Budget, our new government announced that VAT will rise sharply to 20% from January 2011 and that almost all government departments face spending cuts of up to 40%. But there was no mention of cuts to the billions we are giving to the EU.

This is even more inexplicable given that auditors continue to question the "legality and regularity" of large areas of the EU's accounts and regular reports of waste and fraud (see below).

It is completely unacceptable for the EU to be exempt from cuts, able to continue to enjoy lavish, pre-crisis levels of funding while everyone else across Europe tightens their belts.

That's why the DM and the TaxPayers' Alliance have teamed up to launch this new campaign, demanding that, if public services face severe cuts, its only fair that the billions we hand over to the EU should be cut too.

The campaign was launched in Westminster with a stunt for the media. Activists dressed as

Chancellor George Osborne and Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander posed with a giant cheque at the gates to Downing Street and outside the Treasury (right) and then tried to pay it in at the European Commission's London office (see the

video here).

In the first initiative, hundreds of thousands of cheque style leaflets have been produced for nationwide distribution by DM and TPA activists. Further local and national events, as well as additional campaign materials, will follow.

We're asking supporters to sign the letter on the back of the leaflet and return it to us, so that large numbers can be presented to

10 Downing Street. MPs will also be informed how many of their constituents support cuts to spending on the EU being prioritised over tax rises or cuts to public services.

The letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on the back of the leaflet reads:

Dear Prime Minister,

In 2005 Tony Blair agreed to increase the amount Britain contributes to the EU budget by 60% - despite opposition from both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats (Hansard, 19 Nov 2007).

As a result, we are due to pay the EU the huge sum of £7.6 billion this year alone (March 2010 Budget, page 204) - even taking into account the EU grants and subsidies that we receive back.

That’s £20.8 million every day.

In a recent speech you said that our national debt is "the most urgent issue facing Britain today" and all political parties agree on the need for large cuts in public spending.

If public services face severe cuts, it is only fair that the billions we hand over to the EU should also be cut.

Cutting wasteful spending on the EU would make a big contribution to reducing our deficit and solving the national debt crisis. Continuing to send billions to the EU is particularly unjustifiable given frequent reports of EU waste and fraud, coupled with auditors raising questions about the "legality and regularity" of large areas of the EU's spending year after year.

I write to express my support for the TaxPayers' Alliance's and Democracy Movement's demand that the Chancellor, George Osborne, should refuse to sign more cheques like the one shown overleaf, and instead cut the billions Britain is giving to the EU.

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