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Tory MEPs vote for pay freeze

Wednesday, 26th October 2011

Plans to increase the European Union budget by more than five per cent - despite the financial crisis ravaging the continent - were condemned today by Conservative MEPs Emma McClarkin and Roger Helmer as economic madness.

They today argued forcefully for a freeze in the European Union's budget, to reflect the austerity measures being implemented by domestic governments across the continent.

Despite the eurozone crisis, the European Parliament was expected to vote today in favour of a 5.23 per cent increase in the EU's spending next year to 133 billion, as well as an extra 3.95 per cent in spending commitments above those set in 2011.

But in the budget debate, Tory MEPs argued forcefully for an overall budget freeze, and tabled a string of amendments to achieve that.

The proposed measures included:

   Value for money, with all programmes and expenditure to be carefully analysed for viability, efficiency and effectiveness

   Budgetary restraint in times of ongoing national consolidation efforts.

   Any increases to be offset with cuts from other areas of the budget.

Mr Helmer and Miss McClarkin, MEPs for the East Midlands region, supported calls for a freeze in pay for MEPs and backed an amendment expressing disappointment that too little was done to trim allowances.

Conservative MEPs also proposed reductions to interpretation and translation which would save 27m.

Helmer said: "When the rest of world is forced to make cuts, for Europe to demand more and more taxpayers' money is economic madness.

"I am doing all I can to fight for a budget freeze. Unfortunately it seems the majority of MEPs want to press ahead to build an ever-bigger European bureaucracy and to prote
ct their own salaries and benefits - and they have no shame over sending ordinary taxpayers the bill."

Miss McClarkin added:

"It is simply wrong that European politicians feel it is appropriate to ask the taxpayer to foot the bill for another increase in the budget, which is already incredibly generous.

"My Conservative colleagues and I will be taking a strong stand on this issue and we have tabled a number of amendments to call for reductions, as well as insisting that any spending must demonstrate value for money for taxpayers."