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Ukip pledges to try harder to block EU laws that hit UK

Ukip’s financial services spokesman Steven Woolfe has pledged the party will do more to engage in European policy making but will try to block laws that negatively impact the UK.

The party has been criticised for its poor voting record in the European Parliament and did not apply to lead on any piece of legislation during the five year period, a role known as “rapporteur”.

The party’s former economic spokesman, Godfrey Bloom, only participated in 23 per cent of votes in the last Parliament. Party leader Nigel Farage took part in 42 per cent of votes.

But speaking to Money Marketing, Woolfe, who is a member of the Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, says things will be different in this session and the party will do what it can to block rules that will “impact the UK”.

He says: “We will take a much more active role. In the Econ committee we will be working harder to identify regulations that will impact our industries. That will help us identify what problems we face and feed into our policy making.”

Woolfe says Ukip has tried to rapporteur on two pieces of legislation but was voted down in a meeting where these positions were decided. 

“We will consider what comes down the line,” he says. “If [being a rapporteur] is a way of slowing it down or preventing it being enacted that may well be the best route. We will take everything tactically and do what is in the interest of the UK.”

The party was also heavily criticised in the run up to the European elections for a manifesto that was just six pages long, contained no policies but said the party was there to “find out” what Europe was doing and “let you know”. Farage also famously dismissed the party’s 2010 manifesto as “drivel”.

Ukip has already announced that people on benefits or the minimum wage would be taken out of income tax altogether and has previously supported a flat income tax rate. But Woolfe refuses to be drawn on the party’s current policy thinking and says policies will be announced at the party’s conference in September.

Woolfe says increasing taxes and levies on financial services will be a priority for the European Parliament over the next five years. 

As evidence of this he cites plans to shift the funding of the European Supervisory Authorities from national regulators and the EU budget to a levy on financial services firms.

“Seeing the documentation and the direction of committee they still consider what they regard as the Anglo-Saxon financial services sector as being to blame for the Eurocrisis and the problems of the eurozone,” he says.

“They are determined to introduce greater regulation and greater payments on the sector.”

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