The British taxpayer will be landed with an additional bill for our membership of the European Union (EU) next year, as MEPs voted to increase their budget by billions, defying national governments and their electorates who have voted for fiscal responsibility and austerity.
The hike in spending throws into question Cameron’s 2013 boast that he had been instrumental in the “historic” reduction in the EU budgets over the long term.
“Every previous year these deals have been agreed, spending has gone up; not this time,” Mr. Cameron said two years ago.
This year, the European Parliament’s budget committee has reversed any commitment to spending cuts and will increase spending by £2.2 billion (€3 billion), so long as the demand is rubber-stamped by MEPs next month.
National EU ministers agreed an annual budget for 2016 of €142.1 billion in July, which was actually €1.4 billion less than the European Commission’s original proposal, The Times reports.
The increase in spending will see Britain putting in an extra £384 million (€519 million) to the EU’s ever growing pot of cash.
The increase will take Britain’s EU contributions for next year to over £12.5 billion (€17 billion) at a time when the Prime Minister is attempting to implement a mandate for fiscal responsibility and keep Brussels spending down in the lead up to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the UK in 2017.
The increase in spending includes €1.2 billion for the migrant crisis, €500 million in aid for dairy farmers hit by falling milk prices, and €473 million for youth job schemes.
“The cost of the EU budget continues to spiral, just as ministers are asking us to tighten our belts at home,” said Robert Oxley, the campaign director of Business for Britain.
He added: “The problem is Britain does not have control over how the EU spends our money.”
“A big increase in next year’s EU budget would undoubtedly boost the ‘leave’ campaign in the run-up to the referendum,” Pawel Swidlicki, a policy analyst at the Open Europe think tank, told The Times.