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Labour joins protest at £100bn EU budget rise

Plans for the European Union's budget to be increased by £100bn were condemned by both the right and left in the UK.

The European Commission has proposed the budget increase for the seven-year period 2014-20. The plans would require Britain to pay an extra £1bn, which in today's climate of austerity was regarded by politicians in the UK as inappropriate.

Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, was among those to criticise the plans. "These proposals are ill-judged, out of touch and cannot be supported," he said.

His colleague Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, was equally scathing. He said: "At a time when Britain and other countries have to make some tough decisions on public spending, this significant rise proposed by the EU commission will strike people as inappropriate and misguided. The European Commission should be focused on finding savings and targeting spending on the most crucial areas."

Among the Tories to slate the financial plans was MP Philip Davies, who said of the commission's officials: "It's quite clear they're living in fantasy land. The sooner we get out of this wretched organisation the better because they are bleeding us dry."

But Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, wants countries such as the UK to give more to poorer Eastern European countries and said: "Our offer is reasonable, realistic, credible."