One of the main arguments employed by the No Campaigners is how much it costs to be a member of the European Union. Figures are being bandied about by both sides, but according to the Treasury, which probably provides the most accurate ones, the following sums it up.
The UK ought to pay £350 million per week to the EU, but, after the rebate negotiated by Mrs Thatcher in the 80s, the net amount is around £275 million per week, or £660 per household per annum.
However, the UK receives around £90 million per week in agricultural subsidies, and £25 million in grants for research, universities etc., thus reducing the annual bill per household to £320. In addition, the amount the EU pays to the private sector here further reduces each household’s share by £50, so the bottom line is £280 per year per annum.
If we use my previous rough and ready calculation of how much more an average weekend shop would cost post BREXIT, which came to 42p, or £22 per annum, and add another £1 per week for the weekly shop, £52 per annum, the bottom line is down to £206 per annum.
But BREXT would bring other costs. Holidays in the EU would cost a great deal more because of an initially weaker pound, higher landing costs at airports, possible visa requirements etc., so even if only one household in four actually took a holiday in Europe, the average increase for all households would be at least 15% of the cost of said holiday. Another £100 say, or £25 per annum per household.
And we have to consider where the rest of the UK net weekly contribution, after the rebate, subsidies and payments to the private sector goes, some £162 million. The bulk goes on Agriculture (thus keeping the costs of food down but standards up), a small amount on running the EU itself, but a fair amount on infrastructure projects (roads, bridges ) in developing regions. The latter helps these regions develop, creating employment, higher wages, more taxes and more money to spend on imports, some of which will come from the UK.
So, what does the average household get for its average £181 per annum? Peace, human rights, a bulwark against terrorism and the Bear in the East, cleaner air and water, a vast market, trade deals negotiated from a position of power, Erasmus so students can study anywhere in the EU, the right for you to live and work and retire anywhere in the EU, etc etc. and now cheaper roaming charges for your mobile when you take you (probably) £100 cheaper holiday within its borders.