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PARISH REFERENDUM ON EURO A WASTE OF MONEY, SAYS MP

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A parish referendum in Frinton-on-Sea on whether the UK should join the euro currency zone would be a waste of publ...
A parish referendum in Frinton-on-Sea on whether the UK should join the euro currency zone would be a waste of public money, the local MP Ivan Henderson told Radio 4's Today programme.

The Campaigns Alliance for Referenda in Parishes is advocating local ballots on the issue across the country.(See also LGCnet PARISHES FACE POLL TO SAVE THE POUNDTony Finnegan-Butler, of the UK Independence Party is trying to persuade Frinton and Walton Town Council to hold the first.

He said: 'If you look at opinion polls, the overwhelming majority of people in this country don't want to join the euro, therefore CARP thinks it's unfair that our money - the ratepayers' money - is being spent by the government on a subject nobody wants.

'Let's take it to the logical conclusion. If we had a referendum and the government lost, are they going to compensate all the ratepayers and all the taxpayers, for the money they have spent?'

Mr Henderson, Labour MP for Harwich, said: 'I think this is a political decision and those people promoting this kind of referendum should use their own political funds and not council taxpayers' funds. The estimates are that this could cost around£3,500.

'Now that money which Frinton and Walton uses could possibly go to very good local causes. Groups are desperate for money every year. They put in bids for grants and I think that's where this money should go.

'If this group [CARP] wants to promote save-the-pound issues then they should use their own political funds to do so.'

Mr Finnegan-Butler acknowledged he could be accused of wasting local money from the people of Frinton. 'True. If you could say it would work out at about 22p per elector in Frinton...If you can say£200m the government is spending, which is about£6 per elector; the£100,000 a year the [Essex] County Council is spending on their own office in Brussels - which works out at about 15p per elector - and money the district council is spending. At the end of the day it would actually be cheaper if they all stopped spending our money and waited for the referendum. If they lose, are they going to compensate us?'

Mr Henderson said: 'The reason I think this is a waste of time is because this parish council and other parish councils alone do not reflect the whole electorate of this constituency. And this kind of message that this kind of group is trying to get across, at the end of the day there will be a referendum. This government has promised a referendum that everyone will take part in and all those arguments can be used at that time.'

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