The ever rising cost of the EU
John Redwood MP argues that the EU budget is large, that it is getting larger and that it ought to be diminished.
Apologists of our membership of the European Union are always keen to minimise the budget costs to the United Kingdom.
They do this by telling us how small the net contributions are, and by ignoring the huge administration and compliance costs that fall on UK government and companies.
My colleague Bernard Jenkin has been digging the figures out with the help of the Commons library.
The table below, which details his findings, clearly demonstrates that the EU budget is large. But not only is it large, it is getting larger and ought to be diminished.
The EU preaches that member states have to cut spending and cut their borrowing. At the same time the EU increases its spending and demands more money from us to pay for it.
When considering the cost of EU membership we should always look at the gross contribution less rebate, as this is the true cash cost. That is the amount of tax we have to raise to pay for the EU. We should also add in a much larger annual sum for the costs of UK administration and compliance with all the rules, regulations and programmes required by the EU.
I am glad the Chancellor confirmed a freeze on Council Tax today for next year, at the cost of £800 million. Commentators ask where this money comes from. The answer is easy – it will all be borrowed.
It is needed because total spending keeps going up. That’s why some of us would rather pay for the freeze on Council Tax by deferring increases in overseas aid. Or, of course, by spending less on the EU.
The Rt Hon John Redwood MP is the Member of UK Parliament for Wokingham and the Chairman of the Conservative Economic Affairs Committee. His articles are cross-posted on his blog by agreement.
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