Council to lobby over EU funding

ROTHER councillors are set to lobby MPs and possibly MEPs over a proposal for the nation to increase contributions to the EU.

With Rother facing a 16.2 per cent reduction in grants from central government for 2011/12, Monday’s meeting of full council debated the implications of the UK’s contribution to Europe rising by 60 per cent over two years.

Cllr Carl Maynard, leader of the Conservative-led council, submitted a motion objecting to the government looking likely to increase the overall EU budget by 2.9 per cent.

Cllr Maynard said: “This council believes the EU should be treated the same as the other tiers of government and in these austere times should share responsibility, along with central and local government, for public spending reductions.

“Sharing the burden would result in less severe cuts for local authorities, and give more assistance to councils to protect front line services.

“This council therefore urges Rother’s two MPs [Greg Barker and Amber Rudd] not to support an increase in the EU budget.”

The motion won support from Cllr Sue Prochak, leader of the Lib Dems, who suggested lobbying MEPs as well as the two MPs.

She said: “I can’t find much to disagree with in this motion. There’s a lot of streamlining that could be done there [the EU].

“It’s not right anyway that local authorities are going to foot the bill.”

The motion was carried, with Cllr Maynard stating Cllr Prochak’s suggestion on lobbying MEPs merited further discussion.