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EU rebate must stay, says local MEP

Wednesday, 8th September 2010

Britain's multi-billion-pound annual rebate, which was famously secured by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and is estimated to be worth £3.25 billion this year, is at risk of being clawed back by the EU.

The budget rebate is paid out to the UK to compensate for the lack of spending from the EU on farming and regeneration projects in the country and also ensures that Britainís net contribution to Brussels does not exceed that of larger EU member states such as Germany and France.

Responding to comments made by EU Budgets Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski that the UK's EU rebate is "no longer justified", Roger Helmer MEP, Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, said:

"Britain is a disproportionate contributor to the EU, under the complex and biased funding arrangements, and the rebate must stay until we get a root and branch reform of the EU's funding system. We must not repeat Tony Blair's error of giving up billions of pounds in exchange for vague promises of future reform".

The MEP points out that according to credible estimates, the total annual cost of EU membership, including regulatory costs, amounts to around £120 billion a year.