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UK may have to pay other countries' debts before paying off our own
Date 08/06/2010 13:24  Author webmaster  Hits 2420  Language Global

UKIP leader Lord Pearson is demanding to know if Britain will have to pay off Greece's debts before it can deal with its own.

In a question to the Coalition Government he will seek clarification today on whether the UK could be liable to pay-off billions of pounds of other countries' debts.

UKIP believe that a little known paragraph in one of the many EU treaties could be used to force the UK to pay a whooping £9.6 billion towards other EU countries' debts, before being able to pay off our own deficit.

The paragraph in question (Article 122.2 of the Lisbon treaty) states that if a country faces financial difficulties caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences the EU may give them financial assistance.

According to research by the Tax Payers Alliance, the worst case scenario could see the UK footing a bill of £45 billion.

In some circumstances the UK can opt out of decisions made by the EU, but in this case the ‘exceptional circumstances' quoted by Brussels may mean the opt-out is not available.

In a move to seek a definitive answer and remove the uncertainty that could spook UK markets, Lord Pearson will today ask the government a question in the House of Lords.

Pearson will ask the Government to state once and for all if the article "has been or could be used to require the UK to underwrite £9.6 billion of other EU member states' debts."

A spokesman for UKIP said: "It is utterly incomprehensible that we in the UK may have to pay off the debts that other EU countries have got themselves in when we are being told our public services are going to be massively cut so we can pay off our own debts.

"Until recently public sector workers in Greece have been able to retire at 58, on an 80% final salary pension - while our own pensioners face poverty. Why should we have to pay for Greece's financial carelessness?

So far the Government have stayed very quiet on this issue, Lord Pearson's question is going to force them to face up to the truth, and reveal what they know to the public.

Lord Pearson's question will be put orally at the House of Lords at 2:36 p.m.