(Even if the price of EU membership was £350m a week – which it’s not – we could only spend it on the NHS if
We cut aid to our farmers
We cut regional aid
We cut aid to our poorer communities
We cut building projects
We were still earning it after leaving the single market)
What’s the truth? The truth is we spend £1.77 a head as our weekly membership subscription to this club.
The gross figure paid into the EU for our membership is £270m a week. The phantom £80m difference is the rebate to which we are automatically entitled, which is deducted before any payment is made, and which can only be cancelled with our agreement. It is a con to claim we are paying this to the EU when we are not.
On top of that, we receive money under EU programmes we’ve helped to create with our fellow members. This includes: – £86.5m a week to support our farmers – £68.5m a week to universities, business and regional programmes
That leaves at most £115m a week as the cost of our membership, or £1.77 a head.
Is it worth £1.77 a week to be a member of this club? What do we get for that?
Unfettered access to the biggest market in the world for our goods and services, giving us a secure foundation for our economic security and growth (as well as a large part of our annual earnings)
The ability to freely travel, work and live in other member countries
The pleasure of working and living with people from other member countries in our own country
Research and innovation partnerships for our universities and companies with partners in other member countries - a big factor in maintaining the global competitiveness of our research institutions
Consumer protection against exploitation by dodgy and unscrupulous traders
Police co-operation to fight crime across borders in jointly-developed programmes and partnership organisations - see here for just one great example of how the UK plays a leading role in shaping the rules for Europe-wide cooperation
Security co-operation to fight terrorism, trafficking and illegal migration across borders in jointly-developed programmes and partnership organisations
Protection at work to ensure fair and reasonable minimum standards
Collaboration with other member countries to protect the environment and energy supplies, and to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations
The ability to act together with our fellow members to get a better deal with major trading partners such as the United States, China and Russia
An attractive location for global companies requiring headquarters locations with free access to the European single market in goods, services and labour
A secure basis to protect our strength as a global financial centre for the future
A better future for our children
Oh, and by the way, the French and the Germans pay quite a bit more than we do to belong. So do the Swedes, the Danes, the Austrians and the Fins. And the Dutch pay more per head than anyone else.
The Wrexiters know the £350m figure is not true. They know that we’d have to agree to lose the rebate. They know about the other money we get. They know saying we can spend £350m on the NHS if we leave the EU is a fantasy. But they think that changing their story now will undermine their credibility. What credibility?