Parliament Roundup

Weekly Parliament Roundup : 17th September – 25th September

Britain to pay extra €2.1 bn into EU budget by December

Britain has been told it must pay an extra €2.1bn (£1.7bn) into the European Union budget by the end of next month because the UK economy is doing better compared to to other European economies. This demand will definitely be used by the euro sceptics as another reason why Britain should leave the EU. British and European commission officials confirmed that the Treasury had been told last week that budget contribution calculations based on gross national income adjustments carried out by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, showed that because of the UK’s economic recovery, there was a huge discrepancy of what they were asked to contribute and what they should be paying realistically. Cameron currently refuses to pay the EU budget. Nigel Farage also condemned the EU budget demand by stating, “Having come to Britain to set fire to David Cameron’s migration ideas, José Manuel Barroso [European commission president] has returned to Brussels to pour more fuel on the flames.’’

Johann Lamont quits as head of Scottish Labour

Johann Lamont is to stand down as leader of the Scottish Labour party, after describing some of her Westminster colleagues as dinosaurs who do not understand the politics they are facing since the referendum. Lamont accused colleagues of trying to run Scotland “like a branch office of London”, an accusation backed by the former Labour first minister Henry McLeish who claimed the Westminster party did not have a clue about “the realities of Scottish politics” and faced a problem of “historic, epic proportions” that could cost it the next general election. The leader has represented her constituency since 1999, taking over as leader in December 2011 after the party’s bruising defeat by the SNP in the Scottish parliament elections that year.

Government borrowing increases to 10%

The chancellor’s plan to cut the deficit this year looks increasingly unrealistic after borrowing in September pushed the deficit 10% higher in the first half of the year, lessening the chances of a pre-election giveaway at December’s autumn statement. Borrowing last month was £11.8bn, £1.6bn higher than in September 2013, illustrating how the tax take has failed to keep up with government spending, despite recent economic recovery. Economists said it was looking increasingly likely George Osborne would miss his target of reducing the deficit by more than £12bn in 2014-15. Alan Clarke, economist at Scotiabank, said that if the current trend continued, borrowing would come in around £10bn above the target.

By Gloria Ganda