The EU makes the balance of payments worse

         Proponents of more EU integration always concentrate on a small part of the UK’s balance of payments, our goods exports to the continent, which in turn is a small part of our total economy.

          Whilst the goods balance is well in deficit anyway, with the EU selling us much more than we sell them, the position on the transfer accounts is far worse.

          The UK earns a healthy surplus of dividend and interest income from the rest of the world, amounting to a net £25.3 billion in 2011. The balance with the rest of the EU was a negative £8.5bn, meaning they earn more from us than we earn from them.

          Worse still we send the rest of the EU a net £11.4billion, much of it our contribution to the EU club paid by UK taxpayers.

          Our total surplus with the rest of the world was a positive £17.6 bn in 2011, whilst the total deficit with the rest of the EU was a depressing £46.6 billion.

          It would be good if the UK could reduce its deficit on foreign account. We are as a country exporting more cars and still doing well with exports of services. Meanwhile, the government’s large transfers to the EU institutions drag us the other way. The EU is also a weak area for us making investment abroad. Most UK companies expanding overseas prefer to go the Americas or Asia than to the continent. As a result the UK ends up having to pay more out in profits and dividends to the rest of the EU than we earn from them.

           At a time of need to bring our costs more in line with our income, the government should turn its attention to the big deficits we are running with the EU. Business says it likes the single market, but the figures show us that UK businesses do not by and large invest on the continent and create jobs and dividends out of doing so.

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129 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    So we do well exporting to the rest of the world,even with the EU export tarif but while we PAY to belong to the EU we import more than export to the EU well, well and they don’t even like us!
    Lets just have a FREE trade area no free movement of labour pay nothing!
    Do Mexico pay to have a free trade with the US
    Can I put myself forward to help with the negotiations!

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Norway has a seat at the world trade table which decides all issues regarding car manufacture. The EU has one seat also. However, Norway votes in its own right and have an equal say to the 27 silence voices in the EU. The UK exported a record 1.58 million cars last year and were not at the “Top Table” to discuss important issues the UK was a very small voice within the EU and when QMV is fully implemented an even smaller voice.

      Fax by democracy? Cameron does not appear to understand trade bodies governing global markets or how the EU , as a single body, has no more voice than Norway in an important car market- where Norway does not sell a lot of cars. However, the UK will have to comply with the world trade body and in addition the petty EU rules to build cars. Today he talks about competitiveness in the global market, oh dear.

      • Alan
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        I think the UK has its own seat at the WTO, as well as the EU. In that sense we get 1/27th more representation than Norway.

        But I don’t think the WTO is particularly democratic in the sense of everyone voting: it’s a matter of coming to a consensus.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        What is the official name of the “world trade table”? Do they require a unanimous vote, in which case Norway cannot force anything on the EU; or do they use QMV, in which case the larger EU can outvote Norway?

        It seems that you are the one who doesn’t know what trade bodies are for or how they work. Specifically are the decisions of these trade bodies binding and how are these decisions enforced?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      The EU’s tariffs only apply to things we import from outside the EU. When exporting you use the tariffs of the country you’re exporting to.

      • Wilko
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        “The EU’s tariffs only apply to things we import from outside the EU”

        How might this seem from a nearer perspective?

        A man living in Canterbury, Kent drives to Southend in Essex. He buys an ice cream & fills up with petrol in Southend for the journey home, but pays a tariff to his Council in Kent.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Your example is flawed as the person didn’t import anything, they went to another area and bought it.

          A better comparison would be a man living in Canterbury, Kent who buys an ice cream and some petrol from Southend, has them sent to Canterbury (importing), and has to pay the postage along with a tariff to his Council in Kent.

          You example also doesn’t change the fact that Brian Taylor wrongly claimed that EU tariffs apply to our exports rather than out imports.

          • Wilko
            Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Your better comparison seems to suggest that if the man purchased other products, perhaps clocks, in Southend, & returned with them to Canterbury, he might not be liable for the tariff as he merely went to another area & bought them.

        • bigneil
          Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          you really havent thought this through – -the government would rather build a highly wasteful and damaging HS2 train system to get the man from kent to essex for his ice cream – -but would he find any ?? – -as all the girls are so slim and gorgeous in essex I cannot see that there would be any fattening ice cream sales in the county

          then the government would realise that it had lost tax revenue on the lack of ice cream – and petrol – sales – and send the kent man a bill for not going to essex anyway!!!

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    That is strange for me. A 15/1/2013 press release on the eurostat website shows the UK total trade deficit (EU + rest of the world) in 2012 to be 139.8 bn euro, up from 100.5 bn euro in 2011. Those figures would show that the trade deficit with the EU (52.2 bn euro) is part of a much larger UK trade deficit worldwide. Am I reading this wrongly?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      You’re probably reading it incorrectly.

      As I understand since 1973 the UK has always had a balance of payments deficit with the rest of the EEC/EC/EU, but has normally had a balance of payments surplus with the rest of the world.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: This Eurostat press release with tables is rather straight forward, have a look for your self:
        http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/6-15012013-AP/EN/6-15012013-AP-EN.PDF

        An as an aside: I just found your government an ally for repatriation (I’ve put the Dutch government text through google translate):
        Netherlands asks the European Commission to identify, on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, which policy can be transferred to national authorities and will also make proposals. In Dutch (coalitian) government declaration 29/10/2012

        That isn’t cherry picking and will have more chance of success.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      No you’re correct and even the ONS says the same thing regarding trade with non-EU countries.

      http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/uktrade/uk-trade/september-2012/stb-uk-trade–september-2012.html#tab-Key-Figures

    • Auror
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      There are some figures here that may be useful Peter : http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN02815
      You’ll need to download the full report.

      So you are right, there was a deficit of -100bn *in goods* but a surplus of 76.6bn in services. Put all the stuff together and you get a current account deficit of 20.4bn in 2011. There is a bit near the top of that report about a 45.6bn deficit with the EU27.

      Confusing eh? I think it’d be good if JR posted more links when there are very quantitative posts like this.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        @Auror: Thank you very much! It brings some nuances in the reporting.
        E.g. nuances when I read sometimes (Eurosceptic origin) that the UK doesn’t export much to the EU at all, because most of it would just be passing Rotterdam as a transit harbour to non-EU destinations. Well, unless financial services are put in containers, this doesn’t apply for all the service export to the EU.

      • sjb
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        @Auror
        Yes, links to authoritative sources would be helpful.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Quite right.

    It is mainly “big” business that says it likes the EU, one suspects mainly for political reasons and to regulate smaller businesses out of competition. It is also usually the same people who were in favour of the ERM and the EURO.

    Would one really want to fly on an aeroplane or use a bridge designed by people with such an abysmal record? Often the same people who are being proved so wrong on the catastrophic global warming alarmism, and on the obsession with railways I note, BBC/Guardian think, art graduates with a chip on their shoulders – so very often.

    I note that Ted Heath on the desert island disc podcast tells he once on a boat offered to cook the sailing crew breakfast but tried to fry the eggs on top of bread he had put in the frying pan first. He does also tell us, very proudly, that he came top in the civil service exams, but is this the sort of person one wants to have setting a political compass bearing?

    Modern day Ted Heaths are everywhere in the state sector. Interestingly he chooses
    Topol singing “If I Were A Rich Man” as one of his rather dull music selections.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I see that the take up of the, idiotic, “Green Deal” has been virtually nil so far. I am not surprised. The deal seems to attach a debt to the property which then passes with the property – one imagines the extra legal costs and complications with mortgages on any sale/purchase and registrations far out ways any energy benefits obtained. Doubtless the energy “improvements” installed will devalue the home too, as they so often do.

      What sort of fools come up with these new ways to tip tax payer’s cash down the drain – some Chris Huhne types one assume. Buy some thermals and a hot water bottle it seems a rather better investment.

      • peter davies
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        All the more idiotic when all you need to do is add some insulation in the attic, replace a few windows (if necessary) and replace all your light bulbs with LED ones which use less than 10% of equivalent halogen and will cost no more than a few hundred pounds if you shop around.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Indeed you can do it in not much more than the time it would take to fill the green deal forms in.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, read Richard North’s blog about the EU. It is informative and does not contain the sophistry of Westminster. The Coalition talks about transparency, well let us have the amount we pay for the government’s obligation to the environment (on the front page of our energy bills in clear writing). Making it clear that the term obligation to the environment is a subsidy to build wind farms whether they produce energy or not. I wonder how many people will tolerate that transparency, especially those in fuel poverty. The government has still not come clean regarding all its tentacles on global warming, from the Met Office, BBC, local councils and particularly local council planning (global warming- not proven nor that it is man made). They are forcing public sector bodies to implement and act upon a non proven science.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I see Cameron is in Davos saying “I am a low tax Tory”. Very droll, does he I wonder know what the rates actually are. Perhaps Osborne has not told him? Thank goodness he is not a high tax Tory.

      Vat 20%, income tax 50%, stamp duty up to 15%, CGT 28% (not even on real gains), NI (both) about 23%, IHT 40%, Corporation tax 24%, fuel duties about 65% of the cost of fuel, expensive energy (due to the quack green religion – did he cycle to Davos I wonder?), car parking and other back door “fine” taxes, council tax, VED duty, planning fee “taxes”, building control fee “taxes” ……….

      I am amazed, given the above, that many have enough left to eat, dress and still get to work.

      It is of course highly moral to legally avoid tax and use the money well, especially when his government is so keen on wasting it hand over fist on green tosh, augmenting the feckless, soft loans the the PIGIS, pointless & counter productive wars, the green deal, HS2, the Olympic white elephant buildings, the bloated BBC, the EU, hugely over manned and over paid/pensioned state sector ……….

      Wake up and smell the coffee Mr Cameron. At these rates you kill jobs, get less revenue, push businesses abroad and destroy growth. There is nothing moral in that what so ever.

      • gp
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Bob
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      @lifelogic
      Whenever I make a comment about Ted Heath on here it get’s deleted.

      Reply Not so this time!

      • Nicol Sinclair
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        So, where’s the comment? I can’t find it…

        • uanime5
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          You’re reply to the comment.

      • Bob
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Chuckle.

  4. peter davies
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Interesting. I knew there was a circa £50 Bn deficit with the EU, the more I hear about it the more I am inclined to think we would probably just be better off leaving.

    If only the EU would sanction an enhanced EEA for trade only where every member has an equal voice and carry on doing its own thing in the EZ then this argument would probably go away.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Apparently 80% of our trade is now done inside the UK. So we are here only talking about 20% of our GDP. Can that be right though?
    If so, these figures, though fascinating and true are only a small part of our output.

    If I were a German, I would be very anxious to keep my trade with the UK. In or out of the EU would not matter much.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      My understanding is that 80% of all UK economic activity is internal and 80% of all UK economic activity is in the hands of small and medium businesses. Which points up the irrelevance of the EU.

      • Timaction
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        80% of GDP is internal to the UK. About 11% is external exports to non EU countries and increasing yearly. About 9% and declining of our exports go to the EU. There is also the impact of the Rotterdam effect and Northern Ireland ports as the first is an onward transit port for further export to the rest of the world but counted as EU trade and the latter has to use the deep water ports in northern Ireland before further export to the rest of the world but again counts for EU trade. The net costs of membership of the EU is about £12 billion and rising for foreign infrastructure and farmers. There are £9 billion costs to our businesses to implement EU directives annually. Billions in added costs on CAP and fishing policies. UK public services are now costing billions more in tax credits, health, housing and education costs for the millions of EU citizens who have moved here mainly since 2004, with an unknown number coming next year from Romania and Bulgaria.
        It’s always been a political ever closer union, but always dressed up in economic bunting to mask the true intentions without the knowledge of the people(FCO of 1971. 30/1048).

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      You’re correct that most goods and services produced in the UK are consumed in the UK. However that doesn’t mean the UK won’t suffer any detriments if trade with other countries ceases or that every other country’s domestic market doesn’t consume the majority of the good they produce. It also means that Germany isn’t going to suffer more than the UK if trade between the UK and EU ceases.

      Also just because most companies make money from the domestic market doesn’t mean all companies do. There are some that make more money from their exports than the domestic market and will be harmed if there is less trade.

      Reply Why do you persist in thinking there will be less trade? Senior Germans have already made clear they would want a free trade agreement with the UK if we left the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Maybe because underneath his/her constantly expressed desire for our country to be governed by them he/she secretly believes that our European neighbours are in fact both stupid and spiteful.

        Whereas some of us have little in the way of ill-feelings and in many cases have a lot of respect and admiration for the peoples of those countries, but simply have no desire to be governed by them or to merge our countries into a single country.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Denis–I think “stupid and spiteful” is a good way of putting how the new country, “Continental Europe” for now, would have to be for it to refuse to agree some kind of NAFTA or ASEAN lookalike with us. The Germans for a start are neither stupid nor spiteful so I can see no problem in Brexit. There is no doubt that the Continent will fuse in to one country whether we like it or not if only because of the Euro and why should that new country be more difficult to deal with than America (big and powerful) is for Mexico (with acknowledgement to Unanime5 for pointing out to me that it is not just Canada In NAFTA with America. The whole rationale that has had us sucked in to this quagmire is complete nonsense.

      • APL
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “It also means that Germany isn’t going to suffer more than the UK if trade between the UK and EU ceases.”

        Typical silly rabid pro EUro scare tactic.

        No one – in the EU Exit camp wants trade between the EU and UK to cease – suggesting so is childish, and indicative that you lot have no real argument to support the Pro EU case.

        We would be very happy to trade with the EU countries, we know that trade is mutually beneficial otherwise it wouldn’t take place!

        What we don’t need is the additional extra overhead of government and regulation, make work for the battalions of EUrocrats that make their living in Brussels, Strasbourg or the large percentage of civil servants in the UK civil service who simply exist to implement EU directives.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          APL–Amen

        • uanime5
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          I never claimed trade would cease, just that if it did it would hurt the UK more than the EU or Germany.

          • APL
            Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “I never claimed trade would cease .. ”

            Nor did I complain about your factual statements, since you rarely make any. I complained about your spreading scare stories in support of your cause.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        John I never claimed there would be less trade, just that if there was no trade it would hurt the UK more than Germany because the UK exports a larger percentage of their exports to Germany than Germany exports to the UK.

        Though I suspect that if the UK leaves the EU and doesn’t join the EFTA there are likely to be additional tariffs which are likely to reduce trade.

        • APL
          Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:36 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “John I never claimed there would be less trade, just that if there was no trade it … ”

          No trade is less than some trade.

          uanime5: ” .. if UK leaves the EU and doesn’t join the EFTA .. ”

          We are already in the EEA – and I’d expect us to stay in the EEA which largely I believe includes the constituent countries of EFTA.

          But neither the EEA nor EFTA includes the USA or Canada or Australia or New Zealand, or Brazil or Chile nor any of the former constituents of the old Soviet Union or South Africa or China or Japan or Taiwan and so on and so on and so on …

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Do you have any reasons why this should be Mr Redwood? I have no reason to doubt your figures but would be interested to know why we borrow so much from the EU. Are their imterest rates more preferable? In which case what price a single equal market? If the market can be manipulated in such a way (VAT from Luxemburg) why the need for legislation on straight bananas or the name of champagne?
    All the UK asks for is unfettered access to European markets it appears this may be easier than has been suggested.

    Reply: UK companies find investing in the rest of the EU difficult – gone are the dreams of UK retailers conquering France with large networks, or of Midlands industrial companies in big J-Vs with German companies. It just does not work.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Off topic but I note that IMF are recommending the loosening of austerity measures at the next budget.
      As there have been no actual spending cuts I assume they are referring to the punitive tax rises heaped of late onto higher rate tax payers. Raising the threshold instead of reducing it to pay for increases in the basic rate threshold and reinstating universal child benefit eligibility would be welcome starts.

    • P O Pensioner
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Look at the way German and French utility companies have bought up some of our major electricity and water companies – oh and our Nuclear generators. I could not envisage British utility companies being allowed to do the same in France or Germany.

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        P O Pensioner ,

        You are quite right . Or in Japan for that matter .

        Do you blame the British Government for dogmatically following a market dogma to allow strategic national security interests to fall into foreign hands or foreign governments putting their countries interests first ?

    • peter davies
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      So with all thr barriers the ‘Single Market’ is in name only. Our benefits of memebership are therefore massively overstated.

      Particularly as a couple of people have pointed out there is a world trade table which pushes out international standards the EU has one seat and applies them, the likes of Norway have their own seat and voice.

      Is it true that most EU directives originate from this forum? If so what on earth would be so bad about leaving the EU? I still don’t get it.

    • zorro
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – It is correct that big UK companies do not seem to get the traction to expand within the EU market. I think that there is a strong sense of protectionism within EU countries themselves…..However, big EU companies have no such difficulty in making big inroads into our energy and supply markets. We all know why that happens……

      zorro

  7. Richard1
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I would be interested in your answer to 2 issues posed by Labour and LibDem politicians: 1) the UK will ‘lose influence in the world’ if we either leave the EU or are a marginal member and 2) International companies will choose other EU countries not the UK to locate activities.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Don’t be fooled by this rhetoric, according to Labour international companies ALREADY choose other EU countries ( Luxembourg , Belguim & Ireland) as their HQ’s after all Labour and the lefts squealing about declaring profits and not paying UK taxes is entirely due to EU residency by Starbucks, Google, Apple, Amazon etc etc etc

  8. Disaffected
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Will Cameron reappoint those politicians he sacked last year for advocating an in/out referendum? Will he apologise to them for being unsure of what to do and flip flopping about? He is indecisive but not so sure now!!

  9. Chris
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    In your article you carefully expose the facts which pro EU politicians do not mention. Can I draw your attention to something apparently far worse in the scale of deceit, according to Fraser Nelson, posting on Coffeehouse. The subject of his ire is David Cameron, with regard to a new party election broadcast and his statement on debt.
    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/01/david-cameron-tells-porkies-about-britains-national-debt/
    “David Cameron tells porkies about Britain’s national debt
    “…then David Cameron has to go and spoil it all by telling porkies about what his government is doing to our national debt. The party election broadcast the Conservatives have just released is so astonishingly dishonest that it really would have disgraced Gordon Brown. In it, the Prime Minister tells an outright – how to put it? – untruth. He says:-
    “So though this government has had to make some difficult decisions, we are making progress. We’re paying down Britain’s debts.”…By no stretch of the English language can this be described as “paying down Britain’s debts.” What Cameron said is not an exaggeration. It’s a straight falsehood, and one that demeans his office. He has previously used different language, saying that he is “dealing with the debt”. The below graph says it all:-…”

    Fraser Nelson then goes on to claim that the basis of this deception is the use of the terms debt and deficit, and an assumption that some politicians make that the public are not intelligent enough to spot the difference.

    A statement that Nelson makes which is also highly relevant is that politicians do not realise the full extent of the power of the internet to be used to expose the deception, something I have written on blogs about, so am particularly pleased that Nelson is reiterating this with an apparently damning example:
    Further qutoe from Nelson: “…But in the social media era, annoying nerdy low life journalists like yours truly – tipped off by Twitter-enabled voters – have infinite energy (and space) to document every time ministers attempt to mislead. We have toys to play with: audio, video, graphs etc. I had really hoped that, when Cameron got in, such lie-detecting tools would not be necessary..”

    If what Nelson claims is true, Mr Redwood, this is really serious. For many it will confirm the beliefs they already hold about David Cameron. From a more general point of view, it is this sort of thing that further lowers the reputation of politicians in the electorate’s eyes. In short, if true, it is a disgrace.

    • Manof Kent
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Is there a crime of deliberately misleading the public with the intention of stealing their votes?
      If not can it be put in Leveson or rushed through in place of gay marriage?

    • Bob
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      @Chris

      To be fair on David Cameron, he’s a PR man not an accountant.
       

      • Nicol Sinclair
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        PR man = Spin Doctor.

      • matthu
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        According to Guido (so it must be true) “Jean-Christophe Gray – the PM’s spokesman – told the Lobby that the PM does know the difference between the UK’s budget deficit, down from 11% to 7% of GDP and the total stock of debt, up from 70.7% to 79.9% by the time of the next general election.”

        So the issue of whether Cameron is a PR man or an accountant is irrelevant. He knew what he was saying and he was either incredibly careless or deliberately deceitful. Perhaps his spokesman will clarify which it is.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Chris,
      Cameron and Osborne have been doing this virtually since they took office. I have raised it many times on this blog . The outright lie is that they planned to increase the debt to £1.36 trillion by 2015 from £616.9 billion in the fiscal year 2009-2010. Today the debt is £1.118trillion and counting! That is why they lost my vote some time ago.

  10. stred
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Having put half of my savings into a french bank account 3 years ago I have been trying to transfer it back into a british Euro account for a month now. Despite emails and offers of letters, they have helpfully been sending new passwords and account numbers as it has to be done on the computer. None has arrived to enable the transfer. Over 3 years I received no interest as I have no french tax number.

    We have decided to abandon the idea of retiring in France, owing to much increased taxation such as the social charge for no social rights, punitive charges by estate agents for late payments made when the bills arrive later than the due date, courts always siding with the locals when anyone trys to right a wrong and weather which is often colder than British. House prices in areas popular with British and Dutch have fallen as they return. Au revoir non merci.

  11. a-tracy
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I suspect this is why Germany and France will block our exit, possibly by supporting the pro-integration UK Labour Party. If we quit they’d have to support the weaker nations alone and they won’t accept that. I strongly disagree with UK residents not getting their state pension until they’re 68 when other EU nations still have state and their public sector retirement ages of 55 to 62. So UK citizens are expected to work into old age to financially support their EU peers to retire early in the sunshine at our expense.
    These large companies coming out pro-EU integration, are their investment monies tied into EU companies? They can’t block our market or we’d block theirs and bring Manufacturing back to the UK at their detriment.

    • Chris
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I believe the reason that Starbucks et al are managing their tax the way they do is due to EU rules which permit them to structure and locate their enterprises the way they do. There is not a thing that Cameron can do about it, other than cosmetic. People have said that the EU favours big corporate companies, who have the money and staff to abide by all the mass of regulation and also to exploit the tax system to the maximum. The SME are at a huge disadvantage and I believe it is the large corporate entrerprises who have power and influence and a voice and who will do all they can to ensure the EU is kept on the road.

      • zorro
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        It is a form of state corporatism…….often quite popular on the continent.

        zorro

  12. ian wragg
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    thought you was very disingenuous on last nights news John. UKIP has nothing to do with the pm’s change of tack you say. Most of the msm thinks it was to try and neutralise defections to UKIP. I would have thought you would have at least acknowledged Farages key role in the speech. Last night on the party broadcast Cameroon said the Tories were paying down the nations debt. This is an outright lie.

    Reply: When I and other colleagues were talking to Conservative Ministers and the PM about the speech I do not recall Mr Farage being there.

    • Chris
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Don’t know, Ian, whether you have seen the damning Spectator article by Fraser Nelson on just that point you make with regard to Cameron and his claims on debt. I have posted on it above. It is very serious indeed.
      You are right. Farage was undoubtedly behind the PM’s change of tack. There is also the widespread perception that he was, and perception is all powerful. Sadly, in some cases (but not this) the incorrect perception can cause enormous damage. Politicians use and rely on this to a very great extent. Fraser Nelson also refers to Gordon Brown and how he apparently “used” untruths. The thing to do apparently is to keep repeating them – sounds familiar?!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Nor was Nigel Farage in the Commons yesterday when Tory MPs were jubilant at the prospect of their party being denied fewer seats through the intervention of his party, which was after all the main purpose of Cameron’s speech.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      Come on JR you can do better than make such glib remarks. Unworthy of you!

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Sean,
        When it comes to UKIP our host is nothing but pure hostility.

        Reply I do not express hostility, but seek to remind you of the voting figures, the polling and my analysis of what does change the government’s mind.

    • zorro
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – We need a special JR blog examining the PM’s verbal gymnastics and how he has paid down Britain’s debts or challenging him to explain how he has done so….

      zorro

    • gp
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      I think Farage was there, he was the elephant in the room

      Reply: I can assure you there was no elephant in the room. Sometimes you need to listen to what others say,as they were there and are giving you an honest account of what happened. Mr Farage did jnot table a motion for a referendum in the Commons, did not vote for a referendum in the Commons, and did not have meetings with the Prime Minister to talk about how the UK could have a referendum.

  13. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Good Morning John–All very true no doubt and it is good that you say it, but to me the other, much more important part, of the argument is the simple stuff, viz, first, can it be denied that there is an enormous gulf in ideology between us and the Continent, on frankly just about everything, and, secondly, is the problem simply that the Continent (soon to be in effect a single country whether we like it or not) would not give us a NAFTA or ASEAN and if not why not?

    Unfortunately for the Continentals, they have all those borders and languages to worry about never mind the trade arguments and I believe it is primarily that which drives them. That’s bad luck for them but I do not see why we should have to be involved with the quagmire of the EU because of it.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t want to be governed by the EU. I want to live in a self-governing democracy which trades with the whole world. Your leader, I fear, like so many politicians, will ignore the economic facts you present here. They insist we must be members of the EU single market come what may, which leads to political union. Just what do you expect the government should do if it did ‘turn its attention to the big deficits we are running with the EU’? I doubt that they will even consider it. What are they going to do about the possible immigration from Romania and Bulgaria? – very little if anything it would seem. Your leader thinks that he has kicked the EU issue into the long grass whilst attempting to stem the flow of support to UKIP by his speech yesterday. Harold Wilson would have been proud of him.

  15. oldtimer
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Your comment about the exporting more cars is correct, but against that must be placed the costs of importing many of the components that go inside them. I suspect that the trade balance then becomes negative when cars and car components are aggregated. It is a consequence of globalisation and specialisation.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Your comment about car parts raises a major issue concerning the UKs balance of payments. Far too little emphasis is placed on reducing imports and components for re-export are just one example. We need to see more government support of component producers who are ofetn ignored because they don’t export directly.

      We need the whole UK population to be more aware of where things that they purchase have been produced and where the profits of the companies involved end up. In most of our weekly shopping baskets there is at least one item where a truly British product of the same or better quality and price would be an acceptable replacement for most people.

      For example many continental cheeses now have a cheaper home produced version that is indistinguishable. Many bottled sauces that are produced by foriegn owned companies, often abroad have a British equivalent produced by a British company.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        You mean a company like Dick Smith Foods of Australia? I’d buy some of the products for sure.

        • David John Wilson
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

          That is probably a selfish, irresponsible attitude. If everyone replaced £1 worth of foreign goods in their weekly shopping basket by British goods that would take £1 billion off the country’s balance of payments problem.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Its a bit depressing to think that car manufacturing is still a key part of the British economy. In or out of the EU it would not surprise me if one day, say Nissan and Honda, said sod it we are off to Poland/Czech Rep. We are off because there we get just a well educated workforce (well educated enough to stick bits of metal together), who work for much less and we can put the cars straight on train to where they are to be sold without having to ferry them across the North Sea first

      Here the political elite busies itself with such non issues as gay rights which seem to be a solely Anglo-American obsession. Instead they should be concerning themselves on how to assist British business by giving it a sufficiently skilled work force so that it can sell goods that come with a high margin, that are hard to replicate and buy anywhere else. Thats what the Germans do and that is why they can give Britain the run around so often

      • APL
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Nina Andreeva: “(well educated enough to stick bits of metal together), ”

        I have to say Nina, I think that a condescending and rather rude remark. I admit I don’t know the first thing about you, but do wonder if you’d know how to stick bits of metal together – such that you could get 1,000,000 miles transport in comfort and safety, such that it didn’t corrode in the British climate – such that you get the optimum fuel efficiency you can – such that the ‘bits of metal’ run safely together at 100mph as they do at 10mph?

        I rather doubt it. But I may well be mistaken.

  16. Neil Craig
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    A negative balance on dividend income means they think investing here is likely to be more profitable than investing in their own country. It is unsurprising that the rest of the EU think Britain is a better place to invest and unfortunately, also unsurprising that Britain thinks the outside world is a better place to invest than here (or the EU).

  17. Bazman
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Most of the large companies are foreign owned, so what makes you think they would not just leave to low cost areas of the EU should Britain leave and face some sort of sanctions as it will certainly do. There seem to be some fantasy that the companies here have some sort of loyalty to Britain and are in some way British. They employ British people and use British facilities and infrastructure this is where the loyalty begins and ends as we have seen in the past, they make promises, but if not legally binding just put them to one side when it suits them.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      “should Britain leave and face some sort of sanctions as it will certainly do”

      What makes you so certain of that?

      Because you think our lovely European partners are stupid and spiteful?

      • Bazman
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        If they did not impose any sanctions for example on lower working conditions, what would all the other members say about it? What would they be getting for their membership, allowing a country to operate with no contribution in the EU with the same benefits?

        • APL
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Bazman: “If they did not impose any sanctions for example on lower working conditions,”

          Why then doesn’t the EU impose sanctions on, for example – China? A country which has some of the worst working conditions in the world.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            They do; they’re called tariffs and quotas.

          • APL
            Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “They do; they’re called tariffs and quotas.”

            Perhaps that’s because of the near slave conditions in much of China’s factories?

          • Bazman
            Posted January 26, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

            Indirectly yes. Are you trying to defend low pay and conditions?

  18. Robert Taggart
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Apologies – oneself has done our balance of payments no favors recently…
    Having just purchased a new washer-dryer from Bosch !
    In our defence – history has taught one that British made ‘white goods’ are far less reliable than ‘Bosch’ made such – one cannot afford to keep home grown but second rate companies / products in business.

  19. James Reade
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “Business says it likes the single market, but the figures show us that UK businesses do not by and large invest on the continent and create jobs and dividends out of doing so.”

    In other words, I the politician know better than the firms operating in the UK. Really?

    “Most UK companies expanding overseas prefer to go the Americas or Asia than to the continent.”

    Really? Can we have the evidence please? I mean, currency flows must be measured somewhere, this kind of thing can be shown, right?

    “The balance with the rest of the EU was a negative £8.5bn, meaning they earn more from us than we earn from them.”

    Is this really something caused by the EU? Could it not simply be that over the years we have proven to be worse at investing than our European cousins and hence we have lost our investments and hence no longer command interest, dividends, etc, from the continent?

    The bottom line is that your title is a statement your article does not substantiate. You throw a few numbers around which are simply correlations. Is this really the strength of the anti-EU brigade?

    • Winston Smith
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      “Business says it likes the single market, but the figures show us that UK businesses do not by and large invest on the continent and create jobs and dividends out of doing so.”

      “In other words, I the politician know better than the firms operating in the UK. Really?”

      No, it reads, business representatives express sentiment that does not agree with the facts. A fairly simple concept. But if you already have the intention of misrepresenting JR’s comments then you will make mistakes.

      • James Reade
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        But where are these “facts”? I don’t see them. I see assertions based on supposed correlations.

        That you take them as facts is indicative. John preaches to the converted, and I’m not one of them. I’m a bit more difficult to convince because I actually use the data myself, and more often than not, as Jonathan Portes points out at the National Institute, politicians are not so good with the real facts.

    • Jon
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      As the speech said….

      As Chancellor Merkel has said – if Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.

      Thats a heavy cost to put on every product to sell when the rest of the world doesn’t have it.

  20. William Henwood
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Wonderful powerful arguement for Britain to return to her roots

    Enjoyed all the comments above

  21. forthurst
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The pattern of our trade with Europe is very much a consequence of the loss of ownership and capacity in manufactured capital and consumer goods. Our joining the Common Market at a time when the unions controlled the engineering industry helped to accelerate this loss but it is not clear that leaving the EU will do anything to mitigate it. A financial analysis of British companies by sector shows where our strengths and weeknesses lie and the consequent predictable pattern of defict/surplus with the EU/World. It is very important that such world class manufacturing capacity that we retain is helped by a free education policy that prioritises the nurturing of the able, particularly those with aptitudes for added value creation in science and engineering, that our energy policy is based upon science not religion or the need to refresh bankers, and that the costs to businesses of the burdensome state is substantially reduced to be fully competitive internationally.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    If/when we have the referendum, will the pro-EU faction be emphasising the importance of the EU in making it easier for companies to import into our country? Of course not, once again as in 1975 it will all be about making it easier for British companies to export to the rest of the EU, with a blind eye turned to the effects on the reverse flow.

  23. Alan
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I think Mr Redwood is right to say that we should give more attention to the deficit with the EU. We should join Schengen and the euro, and we should work energetically with other EU countries to make the EU an economic success.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Incidentally, and admittedly rather off-topic, there was some professor of EU law on TV last night, suggesting that perhaps Cameron could get enough concessions from the EU without the need for any EU treaty change.

    One item in particular: the EU leaders could make a declaration on “subsidiarity” to counteract the centralising effects of the paramount treaty commitment to a process of “ever closer union”.

    Funny, that, I remember Major more than two decades ago, crowing about his triumph in getting that idea accepted, and indeed there is the legally binding Article 5 TEU on page 18 here:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:EN:PDF

    referring to the legally binding:

    “PROTOCOL (No 2) ON THE APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF SUBSIDIARITY AND PROPORTIONALITY”

    starting on page 206 here:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0201:0328:EN:PDF

    but those binding treaty provisions have had no discernible effect; and yet now we are supposed to believe that if Cameron could get the other EU leaders to agree to a non-binding declaration then that would all change?

    I also recall that members of the European Movement wrote many letters to the press pretending that the amendment of that protocol by the Lisbon Treaty would mean that the UK Parliament could block EU proposals.

    Well, we’ve just seen that in action, I think probably for the first time although JR has not yet confirmed that to be the case, with the House of Commons rejecting a draft Directive to impose gender quotas on company boards but being outvoted by other parliaments across the EU:

    http://euobserver.com/justice/118749

    “Most national parliaments in EU countries say the European Commission should go ahead with a law on female quotas on corporate boards. But six disagree.
    Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told press in Brussels on Wednesday (16 January) the consultation with MPs was not about the content of the proposal, but about “subsidiarity” – the question whether a given problem is best tackled at EU or local level.

    Parliaments are entitled under the Lisbon Treaty to provide opinions on whether proposals adopted by the commission subscribe to the subsidiarity principle. If one third contest, then the commission must review its draft.

    The commission aims to force publicly-listed companies to have at least 40 percent women among their non-executive directors. The green light by 21 out of 27 national assemblies is enough for the commission to go ahead, with MEPs and member states to thrash out details of the new law in talks in Brussels in the coming months.

    The six malcontents are the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK.”

  25. Barbara
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I know little about financial things, but do know and understand this country is in debt, from the dealings from the banks and then Labour’s spending spree. It is ordinary people who are taking the brunt, who feel it the most. Many, cannot fight back due to their circumstances, it as become a cruel world to live in. I am very angry when I hear we spend 11 billion on foreign aid, while we have people here begging at food banks, no jobs to go to, and poverty wide spread.
    Then we have to listen to the arguements on the European crisis. Cameron is right, its time we were consulted, but will he really give us this referendum, not in five years but within the life of this parliament, and settle it before the next election. 5 years is far to long and unacceptable.
    He won’t get back what he thinks, or proposes, or what his back benchers think he will ask for. There will be a limit. Its not all about trade, its many other things, like the European Arrest Warrent, seperate, the Human Rights Act, the laws they enact, by the hundred. All I want is ‘trade’, nothing else. Nothing else will be acceptable to me. Fairness to trade where we wish and with whom. Anything else, NO, and if Cameron thinks getting just a small recovery of laws back will satisfy he’s going to be very disappointed indeed. I will vote NO, but Yes to a free trade only, and all laws we’ve had imposed repealed.

  26. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    It is instructive to analyse why the last referendum on the EU produced a vote to stay in despite polling showing a general dissastisfaction with the Common Market a year or so before polling day. Many of the factors are still with us:

    1) Massive funding and influence by business for In side
    2) Leadership of all main political parties on In side, likewise Civil Service
    3) Excellent organisation and marketing by In side with a single coherent positive message
    4) Out side totally disorganised and riven by internecine strife, more interested in arguing with each other than the opposition
    5) Out side public personalities easily characterised as extremist swivel-eyed nutters (Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Enoch Powell in those days) and other unappealing groups (some unions in those days)
    6) Long campaign of disinformation peddled by the BBC and establishment elite supporting an In vote

    I can’t see how history will not repeat itself this time.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      This time we are looking at five years of debate leading up to the referendum.

      Also, the elections to the European Parliament will provide a focus for debate on the EU, and the result could herald a further shift in the balance of UK Politics, possibly even a lurch, and with it a rebalancing of media coverage.

      And, we now have a lot of experience where as before it was all prediction.

      • matthu
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Just like we have had years and years of “debate” about global warming.

        The sad truth is that if the mainstream media (BBC included) only peddle one side, you can only rely on internet savvy people to support the other side.

        Also … all three major politcal parties know that it is mainly the older generation who have become disillusioned with the EU i.e. not those who have yet to start paying serious taxes. Perhaps explaining the sudden urge to give 16 year-olds the vote?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve made a good assessment of the likely balance of forces and the most probable outcome of the referendum, despite the balance of facts and arguments clearly supporting the “out” side.

      If anybody unthinkingly assumes that a Prime Minister who wants a certain result in a referendum will conscientiously put his personal preference on one side and do everything he can to ensure that there is a scrupulously fair and factual debate before the people decide then they are being very naive, unfortunately, and not just our own experience with the 1975 referendum but repeated experience with EU referendums in Ireland confirms that to be the case.

      • matthu
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        And our PM will do absolutely everything in his power not to allow a TV debate to include UKIP.

  27. Mark B
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said,
    Most UK companies expanding overseas prefer to go the Americas or Asia than to the continent.

    As they say, follow the money. It seems business knows more about the EU and the Single/Internal Market than our politicians do. Maybe that’s because, as we know, its a political project with a sup to trade in order to con the punters, I mean the people.

    Eventually the jobs and the trade will head East. Europe and the US are in decline and the EU will make it worse.

  28. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I think it was labour who commented that we actually make more out of the Euro than vice versa and that we should look at their investments. Tony Blair on the box yesterday stated that it would be in the national interest to stay in Europe. I tweeted to the TB office to ask him to explain exactly why this is so in order that I might be in a position to make up my own mind on the subject. John Redwood , gives me figures which seem convincing, yet not being a financial animal , i can’t see anything other than what I am told. This is frustrating as throughout education even if Iam taught one thing or another I can argue a point from a different angle if I believe I am correct . This is not the case in national budgeting and I suspect many will feel inadequate and uninformed to be able to give a vote for a referendum and are not happy with relying on political influence rather than knowledge and understanding.

  29. David John Wilson
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    We need to seriously question projects like the latest one for large windmills to be constucted in Ireland. If I read what has been written correctly: This project is being managed by an American Company, will use windmills manufactured outside the UK, is being partly financed by the UK government and will produce energy that we will pay to have imported into the UK. Taxes will presumably be paid to the Irish government.

    Surely such a project should be located in the UK, managed by a UK company and use products where possible manufactured in the UK.

    We wonder why we have balance of payments problem.

  30. Chris Rickard
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The EU des not make our balance of payments worse per se, although I have no argument with you that the UK would be better off out than in, its our high level of imports (which come from the EU coincidentally). Much has been made of the paradox between lack of economic growth and low unemployment, but the same paradox also applies to our imports. Why have imports been so high given the fact that UK GDP is still 3% below pre-crash levels (Germany & US are both 3% ahead). Conversely, why haven’t our businesses been more successful in exporting. Here the situation is more understandable – relatively low industrial sector, too much components rather than finished products etc but the fact is exports should have done better. Services which the UK relies on more than most other countries don’t benefit from the Single Market in the way goods do.

  31. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    It is quite important for the mass of disinformation being pumped out by the In campaign is addressed in a factual and definitive way. For example, I see whining already that if we come out “we’ll needs visas to visit France” – this is just a flat-out lie but to counter it a summary of the Schengen agreement as it relates to the EU and UK, and “open border”, and visa requirements (or not) for UK nationals when visiting a host of non-EU countries, and the interests of EU citizens when travelling to UK need all to be explained, otherwise this type of headline-grabbing one-liner will take hold in the public imagination – things like the threat of mild inconvenience when going on the booze run are likely to prove as important to some people as our overall trade imbalance.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      The UK opted out of the Schengen agreement so I don’t see how it will benefit us, especially if we leave the EU.

    • Jon
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      I like millions need an ID card to access my workplace. I then need a dozen passwords just to access the various systems to do my job. I then need a card and a code to access my money.

      The idea that someone can move over a thousand miles through many countries without and ID is bizarre. Its an ideology pre technology. It was an idea that was last relevant in the 1970s and that is how out of date this ideology is.

  32. mart
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The “cost” of being in the EU is not worth the “benefit”.

    What was the “benefit” again, by the way? Trade? Would trade be difficult if we were out of the EU – I don’t think so.

    Why is the referendum only proposed in 5 years’ time? Why not (say) 1 year?

    Reply Because there is no majority for the legislation in this Parliament

  33. Winston Smith
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Can you comment on David Cameron’s lie on TV last night, where he said “we are paying down Britain’s debts”. If the leader of your party (and my ex-party) can tell such barefaced lies to the public, what makes you believe him on the EU referendum?

    • Monty
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      I would like to second that. I was really shocked at how blatant that was. Everyone expects political leaders to embellish the truth, to gloss over the truth, but to say something demonstrably false is not only shifty, it’s stupid.

  34. Bryan
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Mr Clegg seems not to know that we are running a huge balance of trade deficit with the rest of the EU. Nor it appears does the BBC which prefaces each in/out related news item with the information that we export c 50% of our goods to the EU, omitting of course that we import c 70% from the EU, and usually adds that British jobs (a la Clegg) are at risk if we leave the EU. Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband must clap with joy when the see/hear this one-sided piffle.

    Germany clearly wants us to stay in because more of our taxpayer cash is propping up EU industry than anybody elses’, or at least it seems so.

    We get a very poor bang for our pound.

    And if you would like a belly laugh – tell me how we could lose influence!!!!!

  35. uanime5
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    John your claim that the UK has a trade surplus with the rest of the world is completely wrong. In 2011/12 the UK was a net importer with the rest of the world with a trade deficit of between £3-5.5 billion every month.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/uktrade/uk-trade/september-2012/stb-uk-trade–september-2012.html#tab-Trade-in-Goods—Non-EU-Analysis

    Though the UK does have a surplus selling services to the EU and the rest of the world this surplus is far less than the deficit incurred by importing more goods than we export.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/uktrade/uk-trade/september-2012/stb-uk-trade–september-2012.html#tab-Trade-in-Services

    Why do you think the UK had a £17.6 billion surplus in 2011 with the rest of the world? What figures are you basing this on?

    Reply ONS figures including dividends and profits on investments.

    • Auror
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      I share uanime5’s confusion here JR. These figures : http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN02815
      (need to download pdf)
      suggest that we must have had a much bigger current account deficit in 2012 than 17bn or so (Q4 is not given admittedly). Can you possibly post a link to help explain?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      John how does excluding the dividends and profits on investments turn a deficit of about £20 billion a year into a surplus of £17 billion?

      Also why are you excluding dividends and profits on investments? If the money is leaving the UK then it should be considered a loss.

      Reply I am not excluding them, I am including them. We pay away net profits and dividends to the rest of the EU and receive net payments from the rest of the world.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Sorry I thought you said ONS figured included dividends and profits on investments, rather than you were using ONS figures plus dividends and profits on investments.

        So even through the UK has a trade and transfer deficit it has a surplus in income (investment). Thus it has an overall surplus.

    • zorro
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      John, do you have a link for these figures please on the ONS site?

      Thanks
      zorro

      Reply No, but I did not make them up!

  36. Terry
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Very informative. Thank you, John.

    However, given these bottom line figures,why is it that so many MP’s and business leaders still desire the status quo with Brussels?

    How can they accept rule by an unelected foreign body who, it appears, we pay to lose us money?
    Apart from the common market aspect, what benefits does the EU provide for us at a net cost of over £46 Billions per year?

    Do you know Ken Clark’s arguments for remaining in the EU, John? He is so obsessed with it, he must have particular reasoning for being such an avid fan.

  37. JAMES COOPER
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Using Cameron speaks, some people have said figures do not lie, but we all know they can. However, your figures are interesting. The prompt me to ask questions.

    (1) If our trade is better with the rest of the world, why do businessmen want us to stay in a Europe that restricts them from trading elsewhere and sells us more than they buy from us?
    (2) If I understand business they are in “it” to make a profit there is no profit when making a loss.
    (3) It is also clear that the main industrial nations of the E.U need to continue trading with us, our politicians may be stupid but I doubt if the Germans are.

    A comment on Cameron@s speech
    Why put of for tomorrow what can be done today. The speech was not required he should have said a referendum will be given before 2015 he has taken a gamble with many Tory held seats, His MPs should be shaking in their shoes. The public are not stupid; they can also see the propaganda machine spinning like mad. The Gamble will fail and your Party will lose power.
    listening to him reminded me of JUDY GARLAND SINGING “SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW”

    Using Cameron speaks, some people have said figures do not lie, but we all know they can. However, your figures are interesting. The prompt me to ask questions.

    (1) If our trade is better with the rest of the world, why do businessmen want us to stay in a Europe that restricts them from trading elsewhere and sell us more that they buy from us?
    (2) If I understand business they are in “it” to make a profit there is no profit when making a loss.
    (3) It is also clear that the main industrial nations of the E.U need to continue trading with us our politicians may be stupid but I doubt if the Germans are.

    A comment on Cameron@s speech
    Why put of for tomorrow what can be done today. The speech was not required he should have said a referendum will be given before 2015 he has taken a gamble with many Tory held seats, His MPs should be shaking in their shoes. The public are not stupid; they can also see the propaganda machine spinning like mad. The Gamble will fail and your Party will lose power.

    Using Cameron speaks, some people have said figures do not lie, but we all know they can. However, your figures are interesting. The prompt me to ask questions.

    (1) If our trade is better with the rest of the world, why do businessmen want us to stay in a Europe that restricts them from trading elsewhere and sell us more that they buy from us?
    (2) If I understand business they are in “it” to make a profit there is no profit when making a loss.
    (3) It is also clear that the main industrial nations of the E.U need to continue trading with us our politicians may be stupid but I doubt if the Germans are.

    A comment on Cameron@s speech
    Why put of for tomorrow what can be done today. The speech was not required he should have said a referendum will be given before 2015 he has taken a gamble with many Tory held seats, His MPs should be shaking in their shoes. The public are not stupid; they can also see the propaganda machine spinning like mad. The Gamble will fail and your Party will lose power.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      1) Being in the EU doesn’t prevent businessmen from selling things outside the EU. Also if they need to import a lot of things from the EU then it’s cheaper to remain be in the EU so they’re not subject to import tariffs.

      2) A business is not making a loss because another business is importing more than they’re exporting.

      3) Why do these nations need to keep trading with us?

  38. Atlas
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I agree with your analysis of the economics. However, what would the economics be if the Scots now say ‘yes’ to independence and the resulting English-dominated Parliament lead by Cameron (the Labour Party would lose their Scottish MPs and so any chance of forming a Government) is told to leave the EU by the eurosceptic English voters? Would the English better off out of the EU? I assume that the Scots will stay in the EU given their historical affinity to it.

    Thinking on it, Cameron’s speech will assist the SNP in the referendum, as any pro-EU Scottish voters will see that the undivided UK is likely to leave the EU, so they had better vote for Independence if they want to remain in it.

    reply Of course if Scotland left the union that would change the arithmetic in the Commons, but I am not expecting Scotland to vote for out. If they did leave then Conservative MPs would have a majority….

  39. Jon
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Part of it is down to UK governments favouring continental tenders over UK ones. Part is down to that we don’t make much now. Part of it is down to mass immigration to make it cheaper to holiday on the continent. With that in mind we happen also to be kicking our financial services industry which does give a surplus.

    But perhaps most is down to bureaucrats deciding each year to spend more of our money how they want.

  40. Tony Houghton
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we could all, please, give the source of the figures that are quoted in our comments, then perhaps we might have a more useful discussion.

  41. William Long
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    This is a good illustration of the whole problem with the EU debate: it is almost completely based on emotion; the numbers, which as you show, are mostly damning, do not get a look in.

  42. David Langley
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Another EU cash grab reported by Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph this morning, a £100M fine each year for not doing some energy thingy that we are supposed to be doing and the government isnt.

  43. Posted January 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Well said Mr Redwood! But the worst threat to the UK is from the formation of a single European State. Our press ignore this development but the President of the EU Commission stated publicly, in an address to the EU Parliament, that this was the objective of current EU policy.
    Why are our press ignoring the statements by Merkel, Hollande, Rajoy and all the other major players in Europe that announce that rapid political union is the objective of the EU? It is almost as if there is a conspiracy.

  44. David Langley
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Banking director to Big business Director – “Having studied your accounts, budgets and sales forecasts, I am at a loss as to how you feel you can donate all these considerable amounts to charity and to other large continental concerns?” sad shake of the head from the unhappy Business Director who feels he is on thin ice. “Further” says the Banker, I must advise you that trading while you are insolvent, and taking monies from your customers is an offence, for which a long jail sentence could be appropriate”. “But you have got away with it for years” exclaimed the Business man, look how much you have taken from me in costs, fees and other charges”. ” Yes of course but you need me while of course you are eminently disposable are you not, and we of course have the support of our group membership which as you know have always been in charge of world affairs and will continue to be so”.

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  1. [...] the middle of an enormous stimulus programme, and that it doesn’t work. I would cite his evisceration of the notion that the EU improves Britain’s relative trade position as an example of mindsets in the party beginning to shift from the idea that free trade at any [...]

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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