EU Funding – How much do we pay and get back?

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.

Some Facts:

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.

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13 Responses to EU Funding – How much do we pay and get back?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m voting to stay in because the EU benefits me

  2. Awkwardboy says:

    Which definition of billion are you using?
    A common slight of hand used by many politicians is to change which type of billion they are using depending on weather it is a debt or an income.
    A US billion is one thousand million 1,000,000,000 a European billion is a million million 1,000,000,000,000.
    By changing which billion you are using you can make something look either a thousand times bigger than it really is or a thousand times smaller than it really is.
    I can’t help but feel that which ever side wins, leave or remain, my side will be the inevitable looser.

    • Anonymous says:


      All the sources I used were UK or EU. My stats came from papers and Scottish Government mainly so I would assume that they are all pounds. I think that you are right, if I am picking you up properly, that we will be the losers either way and that would not surprise me at all.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. tris says:

    There is no doubt that there will be losers and winners whichever way it goes.

    Gordon MacIntyre Kemp, of Business for Scotland reckons that Scotland will lose to the tune of around £2 billion a year.

    Currently in the UK the in and out sides are polling at around 40% each.

    In Scotland over 50% to stay and 19% to leave.

    If England votes to leave and drags Scotland out we will lose a considerable amount. Not just us, but QWales and NI too.

    There are those who feel that dependent on how that affects NI, there may be a large voice for becoming a part of the RoI and thus the EU. (When East Germany joined West Germany, their citizens became EU members overnight; there was no waiting period.)

    I’ll vote to stay. I like many others have big problems with the idiotic waste of the EU, but the thought of being left with human rights and industrial safety based on an English Westminster government scares the pants off me.

    Let’s show once again that Scotland takes a different attitude to these things than England.

    We really shouldn’t be part of the same country. We agree on almost nothing.

    • Anonymous says:


      Not up as much on the finances as I would like but given that neither side wants to actually have a grown up discussion no one will get the facts. I am more Remain than Leave and I don’t think England will vote to leave to be honest. It might be close but I think Remain will win but it has to be reformed but won’t be, and that in the longer term might just destroy it as other EU countries move right like France and Germany. Again interesting times.

      Thanks for commenting.


  4. lanark says:

    I was interested to listen to Osborne today saying that basically the wonderful UK was too wee and too poor to survive outside the EU. I can’t get excited about a bunch of Tory BritNats squabbling , trying to out scare each other.

    I will probably vote to stay in but I’m not keen on the direction the EU seems to be going. Better than the UK though.

    • lanark

      I’m more than likely the same, probably vote to remain but with a heavy heart mainly because the thought of being left to the rule of the Tories is a thought not worth having nightmares about. I think the EU is a mess though, it’s remote and while MEP’s argue that it is more democratic than Westminster, that wouldn’t be that hard, they do very little to demonstrate it and the media won’t report it anyway. I probably need to take a bit more interest in the EU to be fair, I can’t remember the last time I looked at any of it’s stuff and it is very important.

      I despise the Tories on both sides, they are all liars and cheats. They really make me think that people who vote for them are all nutters, I know that’s not the case but what would bring someone to vote for them is beyond me.

      Thanks for commenting.


  5. The Romans tried it, Napoleon tried it, Hitler tried it, now Euocrats are attempting the impossible: to create a single nation out of dozens of very different cultures, economies and peoples.

    And the simple fact remains, it is impossible to create a single nation out of such a disparate group of people without more or less sending everyone to re-education camps, removing national parliaments and aligning all the economies with the slowest.

    So, I’m not saying it’s impossible that the Eurocrats could succeed where everyone else failed, but in order to succeed, they would create a Europe that I personally would not want to be part of (indeed, I already don’t want to have anything to do with the most anti-democratic organisation around).

    • Anonymous says:

      Scottish Sceptic

      I still don’t know how I will vote to be honest but I agree with you that many in the EU would like a unified state with no national governments etc. It won’t happen I guess, and I also think that if the UK does vote to leave others will follow, the project is a deck of cards waiting to fall in my opinion. It’s too corrupt and too large with stupid rules in some areas, but it does play an important role for all of us with employment law etc. which protect us from the ravishes of the scumbag Tories. It really needs reform badly but shows no sign of being willing to do that, it pretty much runs to serve Germany and France in the main and that is a huge problem. I don’t know if the UK will vote to leave but it will be close.

      Thank you for taking time to read my blog and comment.


      • The problem with a state, is that you need to have a lot in common: common economics, culture, history, education, religion even climate and the more differences there are, the harder it is to keep the “state” together. So, usually large states fail unless they become authoritarian dogmatic and enforce those things that they can: culture, language, law, even religion to compensate for those they cannot (e.g. climate).

        The US was one of those rare examples, where lots of “countries” with very much the same culture, history, laws etc., came into being with enough in common to merit a union. In other words, there was not a lot of difference … but even so, it still took a bloodthirsty civil war to bring them all together.

        However, Europe has a very very long history and the nation states like the UK have had their own way of doing things for millennia. There is no way on earth you can bring all these very distinct countries into one political union without an almighty fight occurring.

        The problem is that a single currency will inevitably force those that stay to be closer and closer and closer politically and economically. A single currency cannot have divergence economies all growing at different rates – or at least any disparity quickly creates enormous stresses that just build and build the more divergent the economies. It’s hard enough for England and Scotland – but Greece and Germany is just plain stupid. One of them has to leave, otherwise Greeks have to start working like Germans (LOL) or Germans like Greeks (in other words a basket case economy). It will never happen and it is just nuts to think it will. So, sooner or later Greece will exit the Euro, followed by the next worst economy – then the next, then the next. In other words, when enough time has passed to allow the differential rates of growth to create enough strain, the EURO will start being one continuous stream of exit – bail outs – re-entrants – calm – stress, strain, exit, bail-out.

        Economically, its as daft.

        • Scottish Sceptic

          I think your right about the EU and closer union. There are too many differencesand with ever incresing turmoil in the middle east these differences are going to get worse. I watch euro news sometimes and there also appears to be a lot of disquiet amongst eu citizens regarding Turkey being able to join and the relaxation of visa’s, I totally understand that. Turkey meet very few of the human rights laws and employment laws from what reporters are saying, many think that Turkey are holding the EU to ransom. Free movement of Turks thoough will I think really put the projecty at risk. The EU/UK are hiding the real figures on many things from migration to employment. Now if we remain a member then I think you have to accpet open borders and I see the logic in it but does the UK have the infrastructure to cope, I don’t think it does at all and I suspect there is a hostile under belly in England, maybe Scotland also, to EU enlargement. I totally see why Cameron is annoyed that the Turkey deal has become public as the polls are getting closer in the EU debate. Interesting times.

          Thanks for commenting.


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