The EU Budget: a tool for investment in jobs and growth

27th April, 2012 9:35 am

The EU budget never fails to attract the attention of the UK press. This week’s proposal for a 6.8% rise in the EU budget for 2013 certainly grabbed the headlines. At a time when the Tory-led coalition is making devastating cuts to the funding of public services, it’s easy to see why people think an increase in the EU budget is unacceptable.

​So what’s the reason for this increase? Commissioner Lewandowski explains that this money is already committed to projects – bills need to be paid, even in times of crisis.  The UK government has already made clear that they think this level of increase in unacceptable. But what they fail to tell you is that they agreed to fund projects and programmes that now need to be paid for. If the UK, like some other member states, want to achieve a real terms freeze, they have to be ready to identify areas where real savings can be made.

Take the Common Agricultural Policy for example. The Tories often wax lyrical about reform of the CAP, but failed to vote for a number of amendments put down by Labour MEPs to scrap wasteful export subsidies that are actually undermining our efforts to fight against global poverty. Of course, we know that in order to make long term savings in this area, we need real reform of the CAP. It’ll be interesting to see if Cameron can deliver on this when the next seven year spending framework is decided, or whether he’ll leave the CAP unreformed in return for a spending freeze and keeping the UK rebate.

Since the crisis, Labour MEPs have maintained a consistent line on the overall increase of the EU budget. We need to achieve a real terms freeze. You may ask how this position differs from that of the Tories. The real difference is this: we take real action. We don’t simply condemn the increase, but demonstrate where savings can be made.

My recent report on the European Parliament’s budget demonstrates this. I have managed to achieve a real terms cut for 2013 by freezing all members’ allowances until the end of the current mandate, cutting expenditure on travel and making efficiency savings across the board. My report also outlines where the biggest saving for the tax payer could be made: a single seat for the European Parliament. This could save millions of pounds every year and also help to reduce our carbon footprint.

The 1.96% increase adopted by a huge majority is the starting point for negotiations. By the end of the year, I hope to have found additional savings which will further reduce the increase.

The EU budget should be seen as a tool for investment in jobs and growth. Billions of pounds have been pumped in to UK regions to help economic and social cohesion. Take Wales as an example. Every year, Wales receives around 400 million pounds of European funding which provides a valuable boost to local businesses, helps get people back in to work and supports community initiatives. Can you imagine a Tory-led government offering the same deal? This funding is vital for our regions and any cuts in this area would without doubt penalise the poorest in our society.

A freeze can be achieved but only by making targeted savings and by reprioritising spending. It can’t be achieved by empty rhetoric.

Derek Vaughan is a Labour MEP for Wales and the EPLP spokesperson on the EU Budget

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • GuyM

    The 2010 general election elected a government in favour of cutting deficits and government spending.

    An undemocratic EU should not seek to overturn that democratic reality by forcing through large budget increases even when all across Europe spending is being reduced.

    The fact that it is trying shows why the UK should refuse to fund its demands and hold a referendum immediately.

    • JoeDM

       Absolutely spot on.

      The EU is nothing but a drain on British enterprise.

  • Bill Lockhart

    The EU budget: a tool for waste, corruption and utterly pointless fat cat politicians.

  • “the Tory-led coalition is making devastating cuts to the funding of public services”

    Total cuts~: £8,500,000,000.
    Total demand by EU = : £10,000,000,000.

    As a Tory Troll from Southern England, I must say that I am disgusted by the fact that this government is not cutting at all. The deficit and debt are increasing by leaps and bounds – much faster than that in USA (See John Redwood today for the figures).

    And I adore the naivety of your advice to the EU! Honestly! I am speechless!

  • Europhile

    The EU budget is far too small to have any significant economic impact.

    In any case the Council has in the last two years insisted on cutting the Commission’s proposed budget and after a lot of huffing and puffing the European Parliament has accepted the Council’s position.

    To save money they might want tob egin with their own bloated bureacracy at senior level, appointed on the back of political cronyism of the most blatant kind, Directors for everything under the sun, a ridiculous visitors centre for visitors who would come anyway,( being subsidised) the vainglorious House of Europe project and sundry other nonsenses

  • Pingback: Tooting Labour Party » News from Labour MEPs()

Latest

  • Comment Featured Steel crisis and Chinese dumping shows why we need a truly ethical foreign policy

    Steel crisis and Chinese dumping shows why we need a truly ethical foreign policy

      While Carwyn Jones, Welsh First Minister, has travelled to India to ensure the board of Tata consider the implications of the sale of Port Talbot steelworks, Angela Eagle has called for China to be refused “market economy status”. This is an important statement. It indicates the party is changing policy. We need a new consensus on international trade.   In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed into law the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act which imposed a 50 per cent tax on […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Corbyn and Kinnock demand more help for “traumatised” steel industry after Tata board reaches impasse

    Corbyn and Kinnock demand more help for “traumatised” steel industry after Tata board reaches impasse

    Labour MPs including Jeremy Corbyn are piling pressure on the Tories to do more to help the struggling steel industry after a crunch meeting of the Tata board broke up without a shortlist of bidders for its UK operations being agreed. Tata Steel had been expected to publish the shortlist after its meeting in Mumbai today but the firm said only that several bids were under “active consideration”. The uncertainty continues as hundreds of British steelworkers represented by Community, Unite […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured PMQs Verdict: Osborne falters, Eagle soars and Trident lurks in the background

    PMQs Verdict: Osborne falters, Eagle soars and Trident lurks in the background

    Those in the Commons chamber today were slightly taken aback by the wall of noise that greeted Angela Eagle as she stood up to the despatch box this afternoon. It is unusual these days to see Labour MPs in such vocal spirit, and they seemed to be making up for lost time with extra volume. As much as the absence of Corbyn could account for this (the Labour leader does not encourage noise from his backbenchers, and it is not […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Dan Jarvis: As a former soldier I back the EU as a project for peace

    Dan Jarvis: As a former soldier I back the EU as a project for peace

    This is a speech entitled The patriotic choice for a more secure Britain delivered by Dan Jarvis at the Royal British Legion in Mitcham, south London, today. I want to begin by thanking Siobhain [McDonagh] for her welcome. Since 1997 she has served as MP for Mitcham and Morden, working tirelessly for her constituents and it’s a great pleasure to be in her constituency today. I would also like to thank Ross Kemp for his kind introduction. We are particularly grateful that today […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Featured News McDonnell seizes on IFS report to warn Brexit would spell “disaster” of more austerity

    McDonnell seizes on IFS report to warn Brexit would spell “disaster” of more austerity

    A vote to leave the EU would be a “disaster”, John McDonnell has said today as the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warns that Brexit would lead to two more years of austerity. A report published today by Britain’s leading tax and spending think tank says that leaving the EU would cost the country between £20 billion and £40 billion in 2019/20, as the UK’s economic growth falls. McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, said such losses would be the inevitable […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit