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A recent posting on the Your Freedom website shows that self-styled public spending watchdog TaxPayers’ Alliance is in fact less interested in getting value for money from the public purse than it is in opposing the EU.

The Your Freedom website was launched by the government on 1 July and invites suggestions for laws to be repealed in order to increase the scope of liberty in this country. The TPA has suggested repealing the European Communities (Finance) Act 2008

This act is the vehicle that gives legal effect to Britain’s contributions to the EU budget. The TPA complains that the UK’s EU budget contribution is too large, and pretends that this can unilaterally be reduced. But repeal of the European Communities (Finance) Act 2008 would not automatically force Britain out of the EU, they say.

However, this proposal reveals how little the TPA really knows about the EU. The idea that UK legislation can be repealed without consequences in the rest of Europe is false. The EU budget is founded on an agreement amongst the 27 member states. For the UK now to withdraw from this agreement unilaterally would precipitate an enormous crisis – which is what the TPA really wants – but on the basis that the UK’s word can no longer be trusted.

The course of action recommended by the TPA could not be followed at no cost to our membership of the EU. It would destroy that membership, and also harm Britain’s reputation in other international organisations.

It is right that the EU budget should be subject to the same scrutiny and demands for efficiency as the UK budget. It is public money, after all. But, just as decisions regarding UK public spending, whether to reduce or increase it, should be considered carefully as to what that spending will deliver, the same approach should be taken towards the EU. European spending programmes that deliver value for money should be defended and not attacked merely because they are European. The careless attitude taken towards the EU budget, assuming that it is automatically a bad thing, shows where the TPA’s priorities really lie.

You can read the TPA’s proposal and post your own comments on the Your Freedom website here: http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/repealing-unnecessary-laws/repeal-european-communities-finance-act-2008

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