Two-thirds of finance directors believe the UK gives too much money to the European Union, while few support the status quo.
Chancellor Gordon Brown is gearing up for a battle in Europe over Brussels’ spending plans, and he has the support of a majority of UK finance directors, according to the results of a new survey.
The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Big Question survey revealed that more than two in three of those questioned (69%) agreed to the proposition that ‘Britain should contribute less to funding the EU’.
As the European Union gets ready to expand from 15 to 25 members later this year, existing members have been asked to increase their contributions, in Britain’s case by 25%.
However, the chancellor is standing fast, and refusing to agree to such an increase, despite arguments that it will leave Brussels short of cash.
The latest Big Question poll showed that this is a stance approved by many with their hands on the purse strings of smaller organisations.
Half of those questioned answered ‘yes definitely’ that Britain should contribute less money. ‘There is a great deal of waste of EU money; much is spent on artificial agricultural subsidies, which favour certain member states over others,’ said John Buckley of Sauter Automation Limited.
‘There is also evidence of much corruption, and until the EU puts its house in order, we shouldn’t be throwing more good money after bad.’
This kind of response was typical of the general feeling. More extreme was the contention of one anonymous contributor that we should pull out of the EU altogether.
The ‘yes, probably’ camp totalled 19%. Among the supporters was Andrew Williamson of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines UK who argued for cost savings through ‘initiatives or reduced expenditure’.
Those arguing against the proposition totalled just 17% in comparison.
Only a small number (6%) of the 274 respondents questioned said ‘no, definitely not’ to a limit on Britain’s EU spending contribution.
‘Stay out of it! There is a lot of change in Europe and to withdraw funding would destabilise things overall,’ said one anonymous respondent.
Of those questioned, 14% said they had no opinion either way.
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