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Nor a single Liberal Democrat voted for extra spending from Brussels

October 26, 2013 12:38 PM
By George Lyon MEP in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Why are you IN?

Earlier this year, Nick Clegg said that when we are having to tighten our belts at home it would be wrong for the EU to press ahead with big spending increases. He was right then and he is right now. This is why Liberal Democrats in Brussels backed moves to cut the EU budget by 8bn Euros.

Despite this fact, this week our friends at the Daily Mail reported that Lib Dem MEPs voted for an increase in the EU budget. The truth is that not a single Liberal Democrat voted for more spending from Brussels.

Liberal Democrats are committed to building a more streamlined and efficient EU, by cutting back on administrative costs and wasteful spending. That is why we have fought for billions of euros of cuts including on staff salaries, MEP allowances and trips abroad.

When finances are tight we also need to ensure that we are getting value for our investment in Europe. Ahead of budget talks we made clear that our priority was boosting programmes that help get more people across the UK into work. We want to see a smaller budget spent more effectively to deliver on the things that really matter to businesses and families. We need to see more EU cash go towards to creating jobs and boosting our economy.

Millions of UK jobs depend on our place in Europe. We want the EU to help create millions more.

Liberal Democrats are the party of in because we know what our seat at the top table in Brussels means for jobs at home.

We know that given the chance, the Tories and UKIP would bite the hand that feeds us. They are putting politics and tough soundbites ahead of the UK jobs that our place in Europe supports.

And the only consistent thing about Labour in Europe is their inconsistency. They can't seem to make their mind up what they want for the UK from Brussels.

Just a few weeks, ago Glenis Willmott MEP told Labour conference about the importance of the EU's youth initiative, a programme working to give every young person a guarantee of work, education or training. Then she voted to cut it. The same goes for research spending that brings huge benefits for British universities, and cohesion spending which goes to the poorest parts of the UK to address regional inequalities.

Labour are not standing up for the UK in Europe. The Conservatives and UKIP will not do so. The Liberal Democrats are the only party working to build a stronger UK economy and a fairer society in Brussels.

* George Lyon is Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland and Vice President of the European Budget Committee