New EU tax on the way
10-19-2010, 09:39 PM
New EU tax on the way
Tuesday October 19,2010
By Macer Hall, Political Editor
AN audacious attempt by Brussels politicians to slap more crippling taxes on British citizens will be launched today.
European Union Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski is set to revive plans for a taxation system across all 27 member nations that could see hard-pressed British households being squeezed out of hundreds of pounds more each year.
With astonishing timing, the move comes just a day before Chancellor George Osborne unveils a swingeing programme of austerity cuts in response to this country’s deficit crisis.
Last night, senior Tory MP Bill Cash said: “The idea of an EU tax is utterly unacceptable.
“The people who decide the taxation of this country exclusively are those in the Westminster Parliament on behalf of the voters of the UK.”
His fellow Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell added: “Yet again, the EU is demonstrating an insatiable appetite for power and taxpayers’ money.” He said the coalition Government had to show more than “wishful thinking” to defeat the latest onslaught from Brussels.
Foreign Office insiders insist Tory ministers, including Foreign Secretary William Hague, are determined to oppose the direct tax plan, which will be discussed by senior European politicians today – the first step in a huge wrangle over the EU’s budget from 2014 to 2020.
Mr Lewandowski is understood to favour cutting financial contributions from national governments and raising the tax directly from businesses and citizens instead.
One Brussels official said: “He will present a list of eight options without necessarily picking one or the other.”
Options expected to be proposed in an EU report today include levies on carbon emissions, air transport, financial transactions or bank profits. There could even be extra taxes on petrol.
UK Independence Party Euro MP Marta Andreasen said: “This tax will be an extra burden, however it is levied.
“If it is slapped on banks, they will pass the cost to the customer. The taxpayer will always be the loser. The Commission is outrageous and deceitful.”
EU bureaucrats, already braced for a massive backlash, have advised officials to avoid using the word “tax” because it would be “politically explosive”.
Britain, France and Germany have already opposed the plan, but smaller economic nations including Spain and Belgium have suggested it might be worth exploring.
French minister Pierre Lellouche described the move as “perfectly ill-timed”, arguing that the EU should be looking to make savings instead.
The EU wants to raise its annual budget by 6 per cent at a time European national governments are making austerity savings.
The move will be discussed as part of a debate on the EU budget. A vote is expected tomorrow – the day Britain’s coalition Government will reveal how it plans to cut spending by £83billion to bring down a record peacetime budget deficit.
EU chiefs have already indicated that they want to scrap the remains of Britain’s multi-billion pound annual rebate, won by Margaret Thatcher in 1984. Tory Europe Minister David Lidington said: “The European Parliament’s demand is outrageous. I do not think it can be in the slightest bit justified.”
Adding that the European Parliament was “are getting out of touch with the peoples of Europe”, he went on: “I think they need to wake up and realise the kind of world that we are living in.”
Euro-sceptic Tory MPs last week fired a warning shot at the Government against any possible surrender of power to Brussels.
More than 30 of them broke ranks by voting in favour of a cut in Britain’s contribution to the EU after a Government motion had proposed freezing the budget contribution.
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