Tuesday, December 20, 2011

EU hands out holidays paid for by taxpayer

Tens of thousands of political activists, including hundreds from the BNP, have been given free or subsidised holidays by British and European taxpayers.

Even as it grapples with the financial crisis, the European Union is paying almost £25 million this year to subsidise the trips, arranged through MEPs.

The BNP, which has two Euro-MPs, has made heavy use of the scheme to thank some of its most prominent members at taxpayers’ expense. One BNP official boasted that it was “a good way of rewarding our activists” that “didn’t cost the party a penny”.

The trips are ostensibly “study visits” to the European Parliament buildings in Brussels or Strasbourg, but the holidaymakers need spend only a fraction of their time at the parliament to claim the full subsidy, which can be collected in cash without the need for receipts.

One subsidised trip to Strasbourg last week, promoted by the Labour MEP Peter Skinner, lasted six days, with only a few hours spent at the parliament. Read More