I have started to take a little more interest in the EU Referendum and how the EU is funded now that the official campaign has started. One of the questions I have asked myself is how much does the UK pay and receive back?
First things first ,it is not easy to try to understand it all as figures are taken from different years so it makes it very hard to compare, and being a bit thick makes it even harder.
From what I can find out both the remain and leave campaigns are laying it all on a bit thick, and neither are really reporting the actual facts, as we have come to expect these days, surprise surprise. Project Fear mark Two comes to mind from both sides.
In 2015 the UK contributed – £12.9billion (£35 million a day) to the EU.
In 2013 the UK received – £6 billion back (£16.4 million a day).
Per person we pay around £228.43 per year (2014)
EU Spend per person £180.38 per year (2012)
The UK was the third highest contributor after Germany and France in 2013.
Some of the funding we recieve is spent on Structural Funds, not including farming etc, and these for 2014 – 2020 are:
England – £6.1 Billion.
Wales – £2.14 Billion.
Scotland – £795 million.
N.Ireland – £457 million.
I assumed that the above figures were population based but they are not as Wales has a much smaller population than Scotland but receives substancially more, so I am not sure how this is worked out, but it certainly doesn’t seem fair. In the years 2007 to 2013 Scotland contributed £7.7 Billion to the EU via the UK and received back in total £6 Billion, so we would appear to also be net contributors to the EU via our membership of the United Kingdom.
Looking at the snapshot of finances I have been able to gather together it would appear that leave are correct in some ways that we pay more than we get back at this time. Would this be enough to encourage someone to vote to leave?
I am not really that starry-eyed about the EU although, as I have noted before, I am more Remain than Leave. The EU probably cannot be really reformed or ever be really democratic; it has become too big for that to happen. Corruption is estimated to cost around 120 Billion Euros and the EU has shown little sign of actually solving this problem while the EU accounts have never been signed off.
However, one thing that makes me lean more towards Remain is the thought of the Tories having free rein in the UK to do what they wish, that is really a scary thought indeed. Looking at things like human rights, workers rights, and the environment, the EU protects us from what could be some terrible ravishes at the hands at of the Tories, well at least worse than we suffer right now.
Overall I think we really need a lot more truth in this debate, a lot more honesty, and a lot more facts. The question will be, will we get them?
I doubt we will get the information we really need. As we saw during the referendum the extent to which those with vested interests will go to sow fear in the electorate, to maintain the order of things that they prefer. We really have a very difficult choice to make, as difficult as the referendum in many ways. As I said I am more Remain then Leave but have not really made up my mind.
We all accept that the EU does some good things and some bad things. The financial figures alone won’t make up my mind for me but they do give food for thought and I would be really interested in what others think on this important issue.
When I write my blog/opinions I have carried out some research to try to understand things better and more importantly to learn. I keep a record of all of the sources I use so if anyone would ever like the links please just ask and I will be more than happy to provide them.