In a recent letter to “The Observer,” Jeremy Hayes wrote:
“I’m an accountant and I simply cannot support membership of an organisation whose accounts have not been signed off for 19 consecutive years. For many years I chaired the finance committee of my parish council and if the district auditor had failed to sign off the parish accounts for just one year, I would have been subject to surcharge and debarred from office. Establishing a proper accounting system for the EU should not be difficult.”
To Mr Hayes’ distaste of an organisation that fails to submit accounts we should add two further points. Firstly the suspicions of many that corruption may be flourishing in these circumstances and concerns that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be challenged to justify any further payments to the EU until and unless accounts are drawn up and properly signed off. (Today’s Times refers to jokes in Brussels about the Kinnocks – lord and lady of the perks.)
Secondly, until there are accounts of the Union’s use of our funding, how are we to evaluate its effectiveness?
It is unlikely that the EU will mend its ways before the referendum. Given then the Union’s failure to account for the money we have provided the only option is no longer to provide funding. If this is not to the EU’s liking, let the EU then try to decide whether it wants us to remain.