EU Commission slaps down George Osborne over rebate claim

Chancellor George Osborne's has been slapped down by his EU counterparts and by the Financial Times over his claim to have halved the UK's £1.7bn EU budget surcharge.

The rebate was ‘never in doubt’, says the Commission

Chancellor George Osborne has been slapped down by the EU Commission and by the Financial Times over his claim to have halved the UK’s £1.7bn EU budget surcharge.

The UK is now set to pay a total of £850m next year in two interest free sums rather than the original £1.7bn which was due by December 1.

Osborne spun the news yesterday as a “real result for Britain”.

Yet it appears Britain would have got back the money Osborne is claiming the credit for anyway, through the EU budget rebate – it has now simply been taken out of the sum Britain originally owed.

In its defense the Treasury is claiming that it was not clear that the rebate would have ever applied in full and they gained that assurance *only* after discussions with the Commission.

It is a shame for Mr Osborne, then, that this account is being flatly contradicted by EU officials. As the Mail is reporting, asked if the rebate had been in doubt, the EC vice-president said: “No, absolutely not.”

And an official from the Commission has now taken to Twitter to slam down the Tory Treasury over its rebate spin:

Tory rebate

To repeat: the rebate was “never in doubt”. This means that Osborne’s claim yesterday to have won some kind of victory for Britain was, in the words of Ed Balls, “smoke and mirrors”.

This from Simon Wren-Lewis, economics Professor at Oxford, aptly sums up the failure of the British media to call Osborne out on this nonsense:

FT

James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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19 Responses to “EU Commission slaps down George Osborne over rebate claim”

  1. Cole

    And Ukip are scoring around 15% in most polls. They’ll be lucky to get more than 5 seats, especially now we know they want to get rid of the NHS.

  2. robertcp

    I am just glad that sanity prevailed and there was a compromise. It shows that we can work with the EU.

  3. marje arnold

    well they find it so easy to lie dont they? i have never in my 72 years known a more deceitful government

  4. Tubby_Isaacs

    I guess they didn’t think the Chancellor would claim that bringing forward a rebate was reducing a bill.

Comments are closed.