A simple question which, unfortunately, has a complex answer: even the British government doesn’t quite seem to know exactly how much it hands over to the EU each year. The Government’s current forecast for payments to the EU Budget for 2016-2017 is:
· £19.228 billion gross contribution to the budget
· £4.444 billion is held back as the British Rebate
· £4.606 billion is spent in the UK by the EU
· This gives an estimated net contribution of £10.178 billion.
However, bear in mind that our gross contribution is rising, the rebate is declining (thanks to Tony Blair’s ‘renegotiations’ of 2006), and the EU spends £4.6 billion of our own money in our own country on projects they, rather than we, deem fit. A British government should be able to make better decisions than the EU on how to spend taxpayers’ money in Britain.
The indirect costs on the economy are much higher. These include the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy and over-regulation on business, to name just three. Professor Tim Congdon has calculated that the direct and indirect costs on our economy for 2015 to be 12% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) or £190 billion per annum. 12