The Conservative party has promised a referendum in 2017 on the UK’s membership of the EU.
A newly-released poll shows over four in ten British voters are in favor of their country leaving the European Union (EU), amid growing eurosceptic sentiments across the UK.
Between now and then there will be a lot of disinformation.
Here is the invidious choice:
Access to the single market, but less influence on the rules that govern it;
Freedom from the rules, but loss of access to the single market.
So here are some undeniable facts apart from the obvious – like Britain is an Small Island not an Empire.
If it leaves the EU, the UK will have to negotiate terms.
It is true that if the UK left it would be free to negotiate trade agreements with countries outside the EU. But it would not inherit the EU’s existing bilateral trade agreements that are already in existence: It would have to negotiate new ones.
So, upon exit, it would have less access to markets outside the EU, not more. And it is hard to believe that Britain would find it easy to forge new deals.
More than 4,000 UK institutions received EU funding last year, including engineering powerhouse Rolls-Royce, which received a number of grants. This included a €2.5m payment for research related to cleaner and quieter aviation technology. The Confederation of British Industry, a business lobby group, received €184,000 in EU funding last year.
The Confederation of British Industry, a business lobby group, received €184,000 in EU funding last year.
UK infrastructure projects have also benefited from EU funding, including the West Coast mainline.
At €29bn, Germany, the Europe’s largest and most powerful economy, put the most money into the EU pot last year. Poland was the biggest recipient. It received €16.2bn in EU funds in 2013.
Overall, Britain’s contribution to the EU pot amounted to €17bn in 2013, behind Germany, France, and Italy. However, on a net basis, Britain was the second largest contributor to the EU budget last year.
It put €10.8bn more into the EU pot last year than it took out. Only Germany paid more on a net basis.
Is Britain the only EU country that enjoys a rebate? No. Due to corrections and “rebates on the rebate” enjoyed by Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden, these countries pay less than their normal share. Denmark recently joined this club, and will receive a rebate of around €130m from next year.
The rebate is now equivalent to 66pc of the UK’s net contribution in the previous year. Such rebates are paid for by the other 27 EU members. The rebate for 2013 was €4.3bn.
This means France and Italy have been left to pick up the biggest share of the tab.
Last year, France contributed €1.2bn to Britain’s rebate, while Italy contributed €900m.
Most of the money Britain receives from the EU is used to subsidise farming (€3.1bn)
Here is another option.
Stay in the EU and abolish or put the Monarchy on a self financing tourist heritage standing.
At the moment you as a Taxpayers pay 56p each for upkeep of monarchy.
This is six per cent rise on last year – more than double the rate of inflation.
The Queen’s official expenditure from the Sovereign Grant, the amount released from the public purse each year to finance the monarch, increased to £35.7m – a rise of £1.9m on the previous year.
There was a 45 per cent increase in the amount spent on the upkeep of royal residences, including Buckingham Palace and the Kensington Palace apartments of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Public spending on refurbishing the 20-room central London living quarters of Prince George of Cambridge (George Alexander Louis; born 22 July 2013) is the oldest child and only son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. He is third in line to succeed his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth 11, after his paternal grandfather and father.
The couple and Prince George has totalled £4.5m over the last two years. It is estimated that the total bill to secure the buildings stands at £50m. Last year, spending on property maintenance rose by £4.2m to £13.3m, including 133 projects costing £3,500 or more.
This is all at a time when Government departments were slashing budgets by up to a third, and millions of Britons have yet to feel the benefits of any economic recovery.
The Queen, personal wealth is estimated at £330m,
The Prince of Wales from the Duchy of Cornwall, which in 2012-13 stood at £19.1m. The Duchy, a sprawling collection of property, farmland and investments sectioned off to finance the heir to the throne 700 years ago, is classified as privately owned but campaigners have long argued its serves a public purpose by sustaining the monarchy.
Travel costs incurred by the Prince of Wales,included a £434,000 visit to India with the Duchess of Cornwall, and a charter flight to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela which cost £246,160.
Other maintenance costs met from the Sovereign Grant included £800,000 to remove asbestos in the basement of Buckingham Palace and £900,000 to renew lead roofing the Royal Library at Windsor Castle,
There is no doubt that the time for Britain to unshackle its self from a hereditary Monarchy that is costing a fortune is not far off.
While membership of the EU is as much about broader, political questions as economics, the economic case for staying in the Union is strong.