How do we get proportion to the debate on membership of the European Union?
The latest attempt – showing contribution as a percentage of our GDP.
Witness Robert Kennedy on the insignificance of GDP.
But it’s the default measurement for the size of a national economy.
Grateful to “fullfact.org” for stats on the cost of the UK’s membership of the EU.
Membership of the EU is £18,000 million per year.
This can be presented as £350 million per week or £55 million per day, and indeed, is so by “Vote Leave”.
But this presumes the cost to be £20,000 million per year.
‘Fullfact.org’ says “The £20 billion figure includes payments to EU institutions by UK households, and so doesn’t represent what the government pays as a ‘membership fee’.”
So the membership fee can be presented as £345 million per week or £49.3 million per day.
But £5,000 million is never taken – it’s known as the rebate. “Vote Leave” should be wary of losing trust on this point.
So the remainder of £13,000 million can be presented as £249 million per week or £35.6 million per day.
But this is before you allow for the £4,500 million that comes back to help farmers and poorer neighbourhoods and districts.
So the remaining £8,500 million can be presented as £163 million per week or £23.2 million per day.
Yet this figure still ignores £1,400 million that the EU gives to businesses direct for development.
So the remaining £7,100 million can be presented as £136 million per week or £19.4 million per day.
Now here’s where it gets harder if you support UK membership of the EU.
Because we joined on the basis of allowing the EU to take more from the richer countries, to give back to the poorer districts.
We are one of the wealthier counties in the EU. It’s shown in Wikipedia as – “The United Kingdom has the fifth-largest national economy (and second-largest in EU) measured by nominal GDP and tenth-largest in the world (and third-largest in the EU) measured by purchasing power parity (PPP). ”
The GDP matters here, cos it suggests that given the size of our economy, we can afford the contribution, which is helping countries such as Greece.
It’s part of saying you want to be in, that part of what holds 28 countries together is those that can helping those who can’t.
The graph shows our contribution growing as we grow relative to the rest of Europe.
Now if this feels wrong when we’re cutting public services, may be that’s more an indication of
– how growth is helping some parts of the UK much more than others,
– how we are subsidising the petroleum sector at the moment and
– how we are failing to collect tax properly from the very rich and certain corporations.
Further, Nottingham as a city is more likely to get support from the EU that the allocation of any cash savings by the kinds of people leading the campaign to leave the EU.
The final point is this.
If we leave the EU, there will be a new cost to the country in the trade tariffs that will have to be paid, and for other new burdens – e.g. France being able to drop their obligations with immigrants at Calais trying to get to the UK.
The estimates of those costs are debated, but what is clear is that they won’t show as a membership fee cos the costs will be met by businesses and from people’s pockets.