Phil Bennion votes against 6.8% rise in EU budget for 2013

October 23, 2012 5:16 PM


Local MEP Phil Bennion and UK Lib Dems today voted against a planned 6.8% rise for the EU budget in 2013.phil-bennion-hs

Commenting after the vote at the Parliament in Strasbourg, where a majority backed the increase, the West Midlands MEP said:

"At a time when there is huge pressure on public spending in almost every EU member state and real austerity in many, the Lib Dem group are right to oppose this increase. I voted against.

"We should be looking at an overall budget freeze in real terms. There are areas where the EU now has to carry out more complex tasks, which need funding but there has not been a root and branch efficiency review to see where savings can be made.

"There is also some doubt over the European Commission's estimates on what it will need in 2013, so this planned budget increase of 6.8% is not justified.

"I welcome the agreement by the European Parliament to make a real term cut in its own budget, with frozen MEP allowances and MEP travel allowances cut by 5%."

Commenting on proposals for the EU's long-term budget for 2014 onwards, the so-called 'Multiannual Financial Framework' (MFF), Phil Bennion said:

"It is vital that the EU budget reflects the hard times faced by all Member States. We need a more realistic long-term budget that reflects the reality that ordinary people across Europe are having to tighten their belts.

"But it is vital that a reduced budget includes the ability to manage spending more effectively, including flexibility between budget lines and carry-over between years, so that our spending priorities of jobs and growth can be protected.

"We also need a commitment to a mid-term budget review in 2017 when we hope EU economies are starting to recover."