– Verbal malfunction: “I’m not going to pay that bill on 1 December. If people think I are- I’m going to- They’ve got another thing coming.” Cameron can’t even announce his complaint properly.
David Cameron has lied and lied again about the £1.7 billion bill from the European Union, it has been revealed.
An investigation by Full Fact has shown that the UK has been taking part in an exercise to revise the way payments are calculated since at least May this year, meaning that discussions on the subject must have been taking place previously.
The Treasury must have known about these discussions, meaning George Osborne would have been aware of them – and this means that Cameron himself should have been told. If he had not, then his government has not been doing its job properly. He says he knew nothing until he was presented with the invoice this week.
Not only that, the amount does not reflect any increase in the size of the UK economy during the current Parliament, but – humiliatingly for Cameron – during the period of the last Labour government. He reckoned it was based on his own government’s (dubious) economic recovery.
The report states: “EU law requires that member states measure the size of their economy according to EU standards. The UK hasn’t been fully compliant with these standards, so statisticians at the ONS have spent the last year revising old estimates of the size of the UK economy. Some, though not all, of these changes have had a generally upward impact on the figures the EU uses to determine the UK’s contribution to its budget.
“The resulting increase in the estimated size of the UK economy relative to other nations – specifically between 2002 and 2009 – is what’s caused the EU to ask for more money. If the Commission had known the size of the UK economy at the time, it would have charged us more, so the £1.7 billion represents the ‘back payments’ following the counting changes.”
There is some good news for Cameron, though. As the bill is for ‘back payments’, it seems likely to reduce in future years – no matter how the economy has performed under his government. His claim that the bill is because his government has turned the economy around is simply balderdash.
And it seems the largest factor in the increased bill has been changes in measuring the contribution of the not-for-profit sector – mainly charities and universities. As universities are currently experiencing a fall in income as their intake from foreign countries drops off due to “unwelcoming” government policies, it seems reasonable to expect that the UK’s contribution will fall.
The best way forward now is for Cameron to accept the advice of Denmark’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, that he should swallow his pride and pay up.
There’s no reason the UK cannot amortise the amount over a period of time. If it does so in an agreed manner, it may avoid having to pay punitive 2.5-per-cent-per-month interest payments.
But then, Cameron has proven to be an economic idiot and may not understand this.
That’s what happens when you’re born into money; you end up with no idea of its value.
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