Britain’s enormous bill for its European Union membership has pushed the country further into the red, the Government’s own statisticians have reported.
The Office of National Statistics published figures showing how the Government’s Public Sector Net Cash Requirement (PSNCR) rose from £10.3 billion in 2013 to £13.1 billion last year, further adding to the country’s trillion pound national debt, the Express reports.
The multi-million pound difference was made up entirely from Britain’s increase to Brussels, which eurocrats recalculated not only to include the black economy but because Britain’s economy – outside of the Eurozone – performed better than expected.
The government’s spending on EU membership was blasted as “out of control” by UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s macro economics spokesman.
He described the £2.9 million bill as an “enormous sum” which could have been better spent on public services.
Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the IEA, said: “The UK needs to examine all areas of public spending in order to reduce government borrowing and taxation. This should include renegotiation of its contribution to the EU. Furthermore, when considering the costs and benefits of EU membership, the whole of Britain’s gross contribution should be considered, not just the net contribution. Certainly, it would be better if taxpayers had more of their own money to spend.”
The news is a blow to Chancellor George Osborne’s hopes of cutting the deficit and means that the additional payment to the European Commission pushed its borrowing up to £86.3 billion, piling future debt on the next generation as the interest payments on the country’s increasing debt rises.
And it is particularly bad news coming into election year, with the starting gun on campaign having been fired only days into the new year, as the figure is just 0.1 per cent down on the previous year.
O’Flynn said it was time the UK got “its priorities right.”
“The Treasury’s contributions to Brussels are quite simply out of control and are becoming an ever larger component of our still enormous budget deficit.
“If ministers think voters will be reassured to hear that in due course one enormous sum going to Brussels will turn into a slightly lower enormous sum going to Brussels then they have another think coming.
“Huge cheques to Brussels – be they for £2.9billion or £850million – appear always to be forthcoming, whereas investment in key public services such as the NHS is treated as a much lower priority.
“If you add together the enormous sums sent to Brussels and the enormous sums spent on foreign aid then it becomes clear that far too much British taxpayers’ money is being sent abroad, much of it to fundamentally corrupt institutions.
“Instead of pumping ever more money into the EU, Britain should leave it and start getting its priorities right.”
While the increased contribution to the EU appeared in the Government’s December 2014 accounts it will only be paid later in the second half of 2015.
It wasn’t only UKIP who were displeased at the news, with David Kern, the Chief Economist at the British Chamber of Commerce saying it was “disappointing” that public sector borrowing “was higher than a year ago”.
“The current trends suggest that it will be difficult for the government to meet its target for this financial year, although there could be a significant improvement when the January figures – which will include significant income tax payments from businesses to the exchequer – are published next month.”
The Quantitative Easing programme which will further contribute to a decrease in the value of the euro through supply and demand will not have an effect on the UK’s payments just like the fall in the value of the single currency on the international FX markets did not. This is because the fixed exchange rate which determines the amount the UK pays in euro after a sterling conversation was set in stone on 31st December 2014.