The biggest area of expenditure which would yield welcome cuts for many UK voters is the EU. Recent work by MPs on what a new relationship with the EU might look like for the UK has highlighted huge areas of wasteful or less desirable spending in EU budgets that the UK would be well rid of. I appreciate many of you would like to be completely out and stop all the EU spending.
When Mr Blair foolishly gave up part of the UK’s hard won rebate he told us he was doing so to get the larger prize of fundamental reform and reduction in the costs of the Common Agricultural Policy. No such deal followed. The UK, with relatively efficient and larger farms, still has to pay large sums to subsidise small and inefficient farms on the continent. Farming is a policy which would be cheaper and better run from home.
Regional policy is another area of waste and unfairness. The subsidies in EU regional policy do not all go to the poorest regions, where more of a case can be made. The scale of payments is large for an intergovernmental organisation, but too small for a common currency area. As the Euro countries work out their political union, regional policy is a prime case where the responsibility and the costs should fall entirely on the Euro area players, with the UK disengaging. The UK can run its own regional policy. It does not need to send payments to other parts of a relatively rich continent for no good reason.
Propping up the Euro is going to cost hundreds of billions. It is money we cannot afford, for a cause we do not believe in. The UK did Euroland a great service by staying out of it. Now we should reap the reward of not having to pay any of the bills, as they reap the reward of not having to prop up the UK’s large and weak banks in state hands.
The UK has a veto over the next period of budget planning,. Instead of building alliances for no increase, the UK government should call for a major reduction in its contribution to the budget by opting the UK out of the farming policy and the regional policy completely. We were promised CAP reform which they have never delivered. They need a new and larger regional policy we do not wish to be part of. So let’s use the veto to negotiate something the Uk wants – much less of our money going to EU policies.