Tom Blenkinsop MP today (1st November 2012) welcomed calls from Labour Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, and Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander for a real-terms cut in the EU long-term budget.
The call from the Shadow Ministers comes as ‘a chronic lack of growth across the continent means that EU resources are stretched and priorities must be revised.’
The motion was voted on in Parliament on Wednesday (31st October 2012) with an amendment calling for the cut.
“Cutting the EU budget is a sensible proposal that needed support from Liberal Democrats, not just Europhobic Tory MPs. Unfortunately, the Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar did not agree with that sentiment when it came to the crunch vote.
“During these tough times, when the majority of Government’s – including here in the United Kingdom we have local councils facing severe cuts, wages are being frozen and energy prices are rising – across Europe are cutting their own domestic budgets people will rightly question why the EU budget would be increased, it is only fair practical decisions are made to decrease the burden on member states.
“Ed and Douglas have offered workable ideas such as changes to the Common Agricultural Policy and more effective use of the EU’s structural funds. Unfortunately the Prime Minister has severely weakened the UK’s negotiating position by threatening to use a veto before even trying to develop a plan with other European leaders.
“However, now the Government has been defeated and the motion has been passed with the amendment, this offers us a chance to send a strong message on the EU that we need to prioritise a growth agenda through smart spending decisions that will benefit our own workers and economy.”