UK cost of Europe rose by £2.7bn

David Cameron
David Cameron
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DAVID Cameron’s battle to look strong on the EU budget suffered a major setback as it emerged he has already increased contributions by £2.7bn.

Newly released figures show the UK’s annual handout to Brussels soared to £11.3bn in 2013.

The Office for National Statistics figures come as the Prime Minister seeks to defy the European union’s request for an extra £1.7bn by December as a result of a better than expected economic performance by the UK.

Yorkshire’s UKIP MEPs highlighted the figures as evidence of why the UK needs to have a referendum on European Union membership.

“These figures are another demonstration of why we must leave the EU - and sooner rather than later,” said Yorkshire UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir.

“The sums demanded from us by this bureaucratic monolith continue relentlessly and David Cameron’s protests will not end these outrageous demands on our coffers.

“Following austerity measures so many people in this country are struggling to make ends meet and our national debt continues to grow - a situation just aggravated by EU financial bullying.”

The increase in the contribution is mainly due to a £3bn increase in the UK’s total gross national income contribution, which is based on the country’s estimate of economic activity within a budget year relative to other EU member states.

The UK’s rebate increased from £3.1 billion in 2012 to £3.7 billion in 2013, the ONS said.

The UK’s net contribution to EU institutions has more than quadrupled since 2008, according to the ONS figures.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, which is campaigning for fundamental reform of the EU, said: “Despite David Cameron securing a historic EU budget cut, the cost of the EU to UK taxpayers continues to spiral out of control.

“We cannot continue to write bigger and bigger cheques to remain a member of an unreformed and uncompetitive European Union.

“Business is struggling under mounds of EU red tape and the UK economy is threatened by yet another potential eurozone recession.

“We must secure a new deal from Brussels and that will only be possible through a referendum.”

The figures do not include the extra £1.7 billion demanded by the EU, which followed a reassessment of national incomes carried out by statistics authorities in each of the 28 member states, and led to large demands for extra money from Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Greece, while countries including France and Germany stand to gain to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not hand over “anything like” the £1.7 billion demanded by the European Commission, and Nick Clegg said the UK “can’t and won’t pay” by the deadline.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We have been clear that there has been an increase in the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget, reflecting the way that the rebate was amended under the last government.

“The Prime Minister’s views on the EU budget are well known. He is absolutely clear that we should be doing all we can to bring down EU spending and get control of the overall EU budget.”

The spokeswoman added: “What we achieved with the seven-year framework - which was the first ever cut in the EU’s budget - is vital because that is was affects the UK’s contribution.”