British taxpayers to pay £350 million extra to EU

The United Kingdom is expected formally to vote against the move to boost the EU’s budget by 2.8 per cent for 2013 – at a time when countries across the continent are struggling with austerity measures, shrinking economies and the eurozone crisis.

However, the system of qualified majority voting (QMV) means that the UK and its likely allies in opposing the increase – the Netherlands and Sweden – will not be able to block it.

Conservative backbenchers last night hit out at the increase which comes after David Cameron signalled last week that he would never campaign to take Britain out of the EU.

Mark Hoban, the Treasury minister, told MPs that the 2.8 per cent increase was an “unhappy compromise” that Britain was unable to block because of QMV. A meeting to approve the deal formally was scheduled for this week.

It will take total EU spending next year to around £108.7 billion – with the £2.9 billion increase on 2012 being stumped up by member states.

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