Elephant in the Room

Roger Arthur

Are you concerned at being asked to vote in the Referendum, without the expected “legally binding” treaty change? Then don’t worry – because we have had a cast iron guarantee from Mr Juncker, who said that “*There can be no democratic choice against the European Treaties.” *

We also have another good clue as to our future in the EU, from the Five President’s Report, with its clear vision of ever-closer political union, but with *no* provision for opt outs.

If that is not enough, we also have examples of un-elected EU officials abandoning agreements. In one example they abandoned Article 125 (nobailouts) and then demanded £850m from the UK in bailout money, after agreeing that we should not have to pay.

In the light of the above, our-opt out from the single currency (and Political Union) means little. If we remain in the EU,then we must expect to have to help fund more bailouts and to enter the one-size-fits-all Eurozone.

But we are already wearing one straight-jacket in the form of costly EU Regulations, bearing in mind that around 95% of UK companies don’t even export to the single market, but must comply with them. Next week we will have an opportunity to kick both straight-jackets into the long grass and to fly again as a world trading nation.

Moving on to the direct cost of our EU membership, Sadly recent cost comparisons have focus only on the difference between (OBR) gross and direct EU membership costs, ie between £19.6bn pa (£377m per week) and £11.1bn pa (£213m per week).

From those direct costs, the UK gets back *less than* £1 for every £2 of the £19.6 bn gross, while annual errors in EU accounts over around 20 years, tell us that we do not get good value for the money. So you may ask, why do we let them keep taking our money?

But our attention has been skillfully diverted to the difference between direct (OBR) gross and net costs, ie of £19.6bn pa (£377m per week) and £11.1bn pa (£213m per week) respectively, while ignoring the enormous indirect cost of compliance with EU Regulations.

Open Europe estimates that 100 EU Regulations alone impose a compliance cost of £33 billion pa (£634m per week) on UK businesses. If we add the £2.2bn pa taken from UK VAT receipts, the total net cost rises above £46 billion pa. That omits the cost of compliance with thousands of other EU Regulations and losses in revenue, due to the big tax avoidance permitted by EU law.

Thus the net direct cost of £11.1bn pa begins to look small and almost irrelevant. It is no wonder that the BBC and others don’t want us to follow that line through. But let’s not be guided by them. Let’s instead examine a 2005 Treasury Report for Gordon Brown. (See web link below) That report implies an EU Regulation compliance cost of £95bn pa, based on current GDP figures.

If we add that to the net costs of £11.1bn pa and the £2.2bn pa VAT siphoned off by the EU, we get a total of £108 bn pa, or over £2bn per week. That is almost ten times the net contribution of £213m per week, which “Remains” would prefer us to focus on.

With that enormous financial burden, we do not need the cost of more bailouts and we do not need the Eurozone straight jacket. So it should be clear that the EU is already expensive and that things are going to get worse – if we fail to leave the EU.

Sadly our leaders have not provided us with an impartial assessment of our EU membership costs, but have distracted us instead with arbitrary economic (short term) projections. They have neglected to prepare us properly for the Referendum, or to advise us that we do *not* have adequate protection against ever closer union. Historians will judge them accordingly.

* http://www.globalbritain.co.uk/sites/default/files/briefing-notes/BN65CostofEUmembership.pdf


Roger Arthur – Author of the book “The Case for Brexit” .

Roger  is a Chartered Engineer, who has held senior positions in large international companies, leading large projects and teams, involving substantial cost and risk. Having been a Councillor and Deputy Leader of a District Council, he stood as a Parliamentary Candidate, coming second in the May 2015 General Election – albeit by a sizable margin.


E-spaces aims to bring the most reasonable arguments on the Brexit debate from both sides. We always try to show all points of view on topics that are important and whose development will have significant impact on many people.

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