• The UK's £450m increase in payments to the EU - hailed as a triumph by PM David Cameron - is dwarfed by the cost to the UK of fraud and error in the EU's accounts, according to the Court of Auditors latest report on the EUs accounts.
Errors affected up to 40% of payments in some policy areas, while the cost across the whole budget was up to £7bn, the Annual Report on the 2009 EU Budget stated - meaning it may cost the UK over £700m.
UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen, a former Chief Accountant of the EU who was sacked for blowing the whistle on fraud and slack accounting in the EU, said, "Just 2 weeks ago, Mr Cameron was claiming the increase in Britains payments to the EU as a victory.
"Now it appears that this increase will simply cover the cost of fraud in the EU budget: in the middle of a recession, British taxpayers are paying for other people to cheat the system"
The report means that payments covering almost €110bn - out of a total of over €120bn - are materially affected by error - 92% of all payments.
Ms Andreasen said, "It is unbelievable that after 16 years, British taxpayers are pouring ever increasing amounts of money into propping up a system riddled with fraud and errors."
The latest report means that the Court of Auditors has failed to sign off the EU's accounts for the 16th year in a row. The current report says that 6 of 8 policy groups had only partially effective control systems, while 5 of the 8 had accounting errors of between 2 and 5%.
The Auditors reports showed that payment errors affected a huge number of projects across the policy groups: 36% of the €35.5bn Cohesion budget, 40% of the €8bn Research, Energy & Transport budget, 24% of the €2.2bn Education & Citizenship budget and 27% of the €56.3bn Agriculture and Natural resources budget. It did not specify the error rate for the External Aid, Development and Enlargement policy group other than saying payments were affected by material error.