Backbench Business — [28th Allotted Day] — Eurozone Financial Assistance
Autism (Quality Standards)
Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood, Conservative)
I beg to move,
That this House
notes with concern that UK taxpayers are potentially being made liable for bail-outs of Eurozone countries when the UK opted to remain outside the Euro and, despite agreement in May 2010 that the EU-wide European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) of €60 billion would represent only 12 per cent. of the non-IMF contribution with the remaining €440 billion being borne by the Eurozone through the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), that the EFSM for which the UK may be held liable is in fact being drawn upon to the same or a greater extent than the EFSF;
further notes that the European Scrutiny Committee has stated its view that the EFSM is legally unsound;
and requires the Government to place the EFSM on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council of Ministers or the European Council and to vote against continued use of the EFSM unless a Eurozone-only arrangement which relieves the UK of liability under the EFSM has by then been agreed.
I thank the Backbench Business Committee for facilitating this debate.
Ever since the civil war, and perhaps back to the Plantagenet era, the primary duty of this House has been to control supply, to hold the purse strings and to decide what the Executive may or may not spend on behalf of our constituents. It is not for Her Majesty’s Treasury to decide what unknowable liabilities to sign our constituents up for. It is for us, as their elected representatives, to make that decision. I ask every Member to consider that point when they cast their vote later. It is our decision, and only we stand between our constituents and the ability of others to spend their money on their behalf.
My simple point is that it is unaffordable for this country to bail out countries that joined a currency that we chose not to join, when we ourselves are borrowing as much money as, if not more than, those very countries. We are seeing £12.5 billion of our constituents’ money—twice as much as was saved in the whole first year of the coalition Government, and £500 a household—being spent on bail-outs; and I mean “spent”, because although the Government tell us that they expect the money to be paid back, if that is so, why will the private sector not lend? Why are there rates of 10% to 17%?