Britons have poured half a trillion pounds into the EU
And despite David Cameron’s boasts about cutting EU spending, there is little prospect of our payments falling in the near future, with another £96 billion due to go from us to Brussels by 2020, campaigners also warned.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign which produced the damning estimate published today, said: “David Cameron promised to cut the EU budget yet we are handing more to Brussels every year.
“If we vote to leave we can spend this money on our priorities like the NHS, not EU bureaucrats.”
Supporters of Britain’s EU membership will protest that Vote Leave’s calculations do not take into account Britain’s annual rebate from Brussels which then PM Margaret Thatcher secured, nor money the UK gets back through EU schemes like Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies to farmers.
But Vote Leave says spelling out the overall “gross” payment is valuable because the UK government has so little say over how EU funds are spent in Britain, while the amount of our annual rebate has dwindled thanks to Labour successor Tony Blair agreeing a cut in return for CAP reductions which did not then occur.
Official annual audits also regularly show how EU projects squander billions of taxpayers’ cash through waste, errors and fraud while we pay sky-high salaries and perks to Brussels bureaucrats.
New research published yesterday by the group further showed how the EU drags down prosperity, with rules and regulations which printed and stacked would be as high as Nelson’s Column, weigh as much as a rhinoceros and stretch more than 130 miles laid end-to-end on A4 paper.
£96 billion is set to go to brussels by 2020
When people are hurting due to austerity here in the UK it is absolutely scandalous that the EU has demanded half a trillion pounds from us so far
Official figures for Britain’s contributions to the EU over 2015 have not yet been published.
But using Treasury forecasts and adjusting figures to take account of inflation, Vote Leave estimated that the total handed over to Brussels since Britain joined the then European Economic Community in 1973 will top £503billion by the end of 2015.
Between 1973 and 2014, our gross contributions were £484.2 billion, in 2014 prices, while net of money received back our contributions over the period totalled £157billion.
In 2014 alone, not taking rebates into account, Britain paid £19.1billion to the EU budget, equivalent to half of England’s dedicated schools grant, four times the UK’s science budget and more than 56 times the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund budget.
Between 2016 and 2020, Vote Leave said forecasts suggest the UK will hand over another £96 billion – taking our total since 1973 to nearly £600billion by 2020, if Britain’s in-out referendum as soon as June shows voters want to stay in the bloc.
Mr Cameron claimed in 2013 that he had won a ground-breaking cut in the EU’s overall 2014-2020 budget ceiling compared to the previous seven years.
But Vote Leave said the limit is under intense strain. Complex EU rules allowing cash increases in the cap mean it has already climbed from the £670 billion agreed in 2013 to £756billion, meaning a corresponding rise in Britain’s payments.
Cameron has claimed that EU spending has been cut
A separate procedure in which the UK has no veto also allows yearly hikes to individual budgets and countries can be hit with unexpected demands like last year’s £1.7 billion “surcharge” based on a reassessment of the UK’s economic performance dating back to the 1990s.
Member states are legally obliged to honour any payments sought by Brussels, with no need for Parliament’s approval.
Ongoing pressures like the crisis over refugees and migrants surging into Europe from poor and war torn states like Syria will increase calls on EU leaders this year when they review the seven-year budget to increase it.
Official UK forecasts predict lower payments than the out campaigners expect but Vote Leave challenges them on grounds of track records, unpredictability and the different methods used by organisations to calculate the totals which mean they cannot agree.
Its report added: “No Prime Minister can be sure that they have negotiated a good deal so long as the budget formula remains so complex and dependent on factors beyond the British government’s control. For example, if the Eurozone crisis causes other countries to underperform, then Britain’s growing economy will be saddled with a greater share of the overall EU budget.”
Britain could also lose out on net benefits as EU grants were targeted at poorer member states, warned the group.
The Daily Express has led a vociferous crusade for Britain to leave the EU.
Kate Hoey has blasted the EU for taking such large sums of money from British taxpayers
UK Independence Party MEP Patrick O’Flynn said: “This research shows the enormous cumulative financial burden of EU members on British taxpayers.
“There has only been one year where our net contribution was negative – and funnily enough that was in 1975 when we last had a referendum on membership.
“Nobody could accuse David Cameron of being able to doctor the finances in the same way for our second referendum on membership.
“It’s quite clear that belonging to the EU costs Britain a fortune.”
Labour MP Kate Hoey, co-chair of the Labour Leave campaign, said: “When people are hurting due to austerity here in the UK it is absolutely scandalous that the EU has demanded half a trillion pounds from us so far.
“Labour voters will be angry.
“We need to stop this now and leave the EU so we can take back control and decide how our own money is spent.”
Powered by WPeMatico