David Blackburn

Labour’s economic credibility goes on tour to Brussels

Labour’s economic credibility goes on tour to Brussels
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Bill Cash’s amendment to the EU budget bill may not have been the victory that the signatories to Douglas Carswell’s more incendiary effort hoped for, but it is significant. It is exactly in line with government policy that seeks to cap the EU budget and search for cuts. As Treasury Minister Justine Greening put it in the debate last night:

‘I will not hide from the House the Government's frustration that some of our partners - and those in EU institutions - do not seem to understand how bizarre it is, when national budgets are under such extraordinary pressure, that the EU should be immune from that.’

The Tory party and the coalition are united in trying to block that increase, favouring a cash-neutral budget for 2011. However, the Labour party’s position is more ambiguous. It is unclear how Labour MEPs will jump when this breaches their horizons. If they support the proposed increases, then Labour will lose yet more financial credibility at home. The EU should have no course but to curtail its vulgarity when, if the more eurosceptic among you will excuse the expression, its people are withering in austerity.