I have just received a letter from my MP regarding the reduced grant to British Waterways from Defra. He does agree that Defra is incompetent and enclosed a copy of a speech by Lord Stodart of Swindon in the House of Lords made on the 5 th. March. Here is part of that speech.
"My Lords, I thank the committee for its report and the noble Lord, Lord Radice, for the manner in which he presented it to the House. However, in spite of finding no evidence of a culture of corruption in the EU, I am afraid that the report will not dispel the deep-rooted conviction that fraud is endemic in the EU and costs about £2 billion a year."
"I remind your Lordships that in 2005 the United Kingdom made a gross annual payment to the EU of £15 billion, and a net contribution of £6.1 billion. The new seven-year financial settlement will further increase those figures; indeed if Britain's rebate is removed in 2009, our contribution will rocket to around £10 billion net per annum. That is very serious money, and our tax payers have the right to expect that it will be properly spent."
"There appear to be no sanctions available against the Commission for neglect or mishandling of the finances, or anything else for that matter. Yet British tax payers are being fined by the Commission for Defra's mistakes and faulty administration in the single farm payment scheme. Apparently, that fine will amount to £305 million - that is £5 for every man, woman and child in this country, or £10 for every worker. They have a right to be resentful that we should be fined in this way"
"Pressure on the Commission to put its financial house in order should be maintained, so that taxpayers in this country and throughout the EU can be assured that no part of their imposts are fraudulently converted or not well managed. It may very well be the case that, as it was suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, the Commission should employ an international firm of accountants, either to examine its accounts or even to run its financial affairs."