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Britain's growing commitment to the Greek bailout

By Tim Montgomerie
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If you read some of the newspapers you'd be forgiven for believing that Britain isn't contributing to the bailout of Greece. There have been reports that the Treasury secured a "victory" for British taxpayers in excusing ourselves from the EU bailout mechanism.

The reality is - and this has been well reported - we are a full part of the International Monetary Fund and, therefore, a full part of its share of the bailout of Greece. But are we paying more than our fair share to the IMF? Few believe that we should leave the IMF (for the reasons articulated by Greg Hands) but, this morning, John Redwood points out that Britain appears to be committing a disproportionately large amount of extra money to the Fund.

Britain is committing £9.5 billion more to the IMF so that the Washington-based institution is well resourced for these choppy times for the global economy. But this is an 88% increase in the UK contribution. The country that is home to the EU - Belgium - is increasing its contribution by just 39%. Read John Redwood's blog for more.

Worse, Britain is enthusiastically championing the French finance minister Christine Lagarde to be the new IMF chief. Lagarde is pro-€uro and pro-bailout and is on the record for breaking the Lisbon Treaty in order to save the single currency. As Dan Hannan has blogged, it is usual for the IMF to insist on devaluation as part of a refinancing loan but when you have French politicians such as Strauss-Kahn and Lagarde in charge it's politics that trumps economics.

As fourteen Eurosceptic MPs said last week, We're throwing good money after bad.

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