Let’s get rid of EU austerity

The EU preaches austerity to its member states yet is itself a spendthrift organisation. The UK is meant to adhere to the 3% maximum budget deficit the EU seeks to enforce on Euro members, though all the last 3 different governments have broken the EU limit. Meanwhile the EU insists on us sending more and more tax revenue to them as they think they can spend it better than we can, usually outside our own country.

The EU sees no contradiction between telling us we need to cut our spending and raise our taxes, and demanding we send them more money to spend.Out of the EU we would be able to choose our own budget deficit level without need to report in to the EU. More importantly we will get our £15 billion back that we send to them to spend. Around £5bn of this is spent by them in the UK and the rest is spent in other countries.

The Leave campaign has made clear we would want to pay farmers, universities and others the same sums as they get today from the EU out of the money we get back. That leaves us £10 bn to spend. We could banish austerity in the private sector with tax cuts, or spend more in the public sector to give more of a real boost to spending than recent budgets have allowed. I am working on a suitable package. This is your opportunity to influence it. What balance of tax cuts and spending increases would you like? What are your priorities?

This could be one of the clinchers for the referendum. Many people would like the public finances to allow more for good purposes.Getting our money back from the EU would allow us to banish austerity and run our own affairs.

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155 Comments

  1. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    A good piece raising important questions. How about a simple, radical proposal?

    A £250 ‘Brexit Bonus’ for every British citizen aged 18 or over – a one-off tax-free payment when the UK ceases paying EU contributions.

    In Year 2 and subsequent years the amount we save could be called the ‘Annual Brexit Benefit’, and could be used half on tax/N.I. cuts and half on a list of popular measures, such as new hospitals, new schools, and new house building. These could be quantified as part of the package you’re preparing? i.e. 10,000 new hospital beds, 50,000 new school places, 5,000 subsidized new house builds. (Or whatever numbers work.)

    I do think the Brexit Bonus in Year 1 should be kept very simple and should be reward the electorate. The package of measures for Year 2 onwards also needs to be kept simple and easy to put across in a couple of sentences.

    I can’t wait to see the package you’re working on. I’m sure it will have some headline-grabbing elements!

  2. Duyfken
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    What happened to that unglamorous aim of trying to get back into surplus and eventually reducing the weight of our debt?

    • hefner
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      As a first step to start wiping the £1.4 trillion debt.

      • Hope
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        The cost is far more than just money. Look at the social and justice policy given away to the EU. Cameron w going to get that back then dipped asking for it.
        Read the rot written by Gove today about the left wing numpty liberal policy on prisons and punishments. It is not as if he controls the ultimate sanction- it rests with the ECHR. The U.K. is not allowed to deport convicted criminals for serious offenses!! There is no punishment fitting for some of the crimes. We recently read how a double murderer is released and we are not allowed to know his name! There is care in the community for you. How about proper punishments fitting the crime i.e. Life means life for murderers. Better still capital punishment. How many victims from serial offenders released. Anyone speaking up for them?

        May unable to find illegal immigrants, unable to deport serious offenders, Osborne taxing anyone with ambition or aspiration, Hunt forcing doctors to move abroad, making doctors work weekends, telling us not use use Aand E while he takes his child there!! The sleazy Tory party is back in force exactly where Major left off.

      • NHSGP
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        1.4 Trillion?

        So I take it your plan is not to pay any of the pension debts.

        So what are people going to live off?

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Not sure you will have any savings after Brexit as the period of negotiation we should join EFTA and EEA to protect the single market, more money should be spent on Border security. Taking back control of our fisheries and farmers control the farm payments.
    This will be a real test of our MPs and civil servants.
    As EFTA will be the fourth largest economic group other countries may wish to join.
    Work should start on free trade agreements with the rest of the world
    A new bill of rights and other acts must be put through.
    And of course. A new leader of the Conservative party.
    All this will be worth it but I think it a bit silly to talk of savings when the prize is our getting our democracy back.
    I voted to stay in the Common Market but will Vote Leave now.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      As the 1688 Bill of Rights is still the founding document of our parliamentary democracy* I would be very wary about replacing it with a new version.

      * Notwithstanding Clegg’s dismissal of it as “some law dating from 1689”:

      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100029780/mps-expenses-and-parliamentary-privilege/

      • Richard1
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Clegg was correct the Bill of Rights was passed in 1689 not 1688

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

          Not according to the government on what used to be called the Statute Law Database, where it is assigned to 1688:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2/contents

          However that is hardly the point; it is not just “some law”, it is the law, the constitutional statute as Lord Justice Laws would have it, which still forms the legal foundation of our parliamentary democracy.

  4. Richard1
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Targeted tax cuts would be an excellent idea, although those are normally revenue neutral or positive in high tax economy like ours so should not ‘cost’ £10bn.

    I do wonder about this being a deciding factor though. £10bn is less than 2% of total govt expenditure – not nothing but a deciding factor in a decision as momentous as taking the UK out of the EU?

  5. eeyore
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    How to spend £10bn? I suggest in whatever way is most likely to produce a Leave vote in the referendum. Time to bribe us with our own money!

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      @eeyore; “Time to bribe us with our own money!”

      The electorate these days can smell, and thus steer clear of, an election bribe 100 miles away… Far to easy for people now to use the internet to do their own number crunching or what ever.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        You don’t really think that do you Jerry?
        Every election has been won by the party that promised the most goodies.
        More spending on….
        Tax cuts…

        • Jerry
          Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; “Every election has been won by the party that promised the most goodies.”

          You don’t really think that do you Edward?…

          All of the elections since 1997, if not before, have been won on who the voters trusts the most – not who promised “the most goodies”. By your rational we would probably have a Libdem/Green party plus many independent-also-ran MPs in coalition currently!

          Labour won in 1945 because they won the trust of voters, apart from nationalisation policies both Labour and Tory manifestos talked much the same about never allowing the economically depressed years of the 1930s again, never to allow the causes of war again, both talked about setting up a national health service, better social services, both talked about “homes fit for returning heroes” etc.

          Churchill won in 1951 because Labour lost the trust of voters, the Tories lost in 1964 because they lost the trust of the voter (no doubt partially due to the sleaze of the time involving a certain once member of the Cabinet, a call girl and a Soviet naval attaché) even though the economy was booming and the outlook as ripe for many “goodies”, many believe Wilson lost in 1970 because of perceived currency control and balance of payments issues, Heath lost in 1974 whilst Callaghan lost in 1979 because they lost trust due to industrial strife. Labour lost in the 1980s simply because they were not trusted, were not considered credible, how ever many ‘goodies’ they offered whilst many voted for Thatcherism even though the goodies on offer would not come within sniffing distance to them.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

            Plainly you are wrong.
            Your take on political history and the reasons for electoral victory is very odd.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Again you try and refute historical facts…

            If you do not believe me then spend some time reading up on past GE party manifestos and comparing them to the actual election results from the time!

            Parties and politicos who promise long lists of “election goodies” tend to be mistrusted, after all anyone can promise the Moon, delivery is something else.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            OK Jerry
            Let’s look just at 1945 as you decided to quote it first
            Potential voters were presented with promises such as a free health service,social housing, free education, nationalised industries with promises of jobs for workers.etc etc
            I could demolish the other elections you have quoted but this one is a typical example.
            Trust…hilarious, it’s always better times ahead and goodies.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            @Edward; Both Conservatives and Labour (along with most others) were offering basically the same things in 1945 (bar full nationalisation of industries par se), it came down to who the electors believed could best deliver.

            But prove me wrong, in 2020 form a political party and offer the (metaphorical) Moon, lets see how many voted your party gets – oh hang on, UKIP have already tried that since 1997, as have the Greens, as have the LibDems (alliance) since 1983…

            Edward, you appear to have a very low opinion of the average UK electors intelligence, most people fully understand that anyone can promise anything, the important thing is what is realistically likely.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

            Edward, you appear to have a very low opinion of the average UK electors intelligence
            Says the Jerry who regularly refers to voters or UK citizens as Plebs

          • Jerry
            Posted February 16, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Is that the best reply you could come up with, again no facts, nore even any substance to your opinions, You views are typical of the alternative political parties, millions of promises, zero delivery, hence why when voter do give them a chance it almost always becomes a one term, one trick pony.

  6. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    A comment on figures for the UK’s net contribution.

    In 2009 our net contribution to the EU was £4.3bn. This year it’s forecast to be £11.1bn. That’s over 250% higher in just seven years. (Source: OBR)

    If we don’t vote to leave, what will it be in another seven years?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      I make that 14.5% a year compound over those 7 years, during which period HICP inflation across the whole of the EU has averaged 1.3% a year, the top right hand box here:

      https://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/prices/hicp/html/inflation.en.html

      So to a good approximation our net contribution to the EU has been increasing at a real, inflation adjusted, rate of about 13% a year for the past 7 years.

      I also work out that the net cash contribution has been very close to doubling every 5 years – to be precise, increasing by a factor of 1.97.

      Carry on like that for another 40 years – it has been four decades since the last time we were allowed a direct say on this, in the 1975 referendum – and the annual cash payment it will increase further by a factor of 256 to £2842 billion.

      Total UK public spending in 2016 is expected to be £760 billion:

      http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/

      Inflate that by an average of 4.5% a year compound – that is, an average 2% a year inflation plus an average 2.5% a year for the natural growth of the UK economy, GDP – and in 40 years time total public spending will have increased by a factor of 5.8 to £4420 billion.

      Making a comparison between those two numbers projected for 2056, £2842 billion for our net EU contribution and £4420 billion for total public spending, and the ratio is 0.64; so it is fair to say that if the EU carries on like it has done over the past 7 years then by the time we have the next EU referendum our net contribution would be eating up most, two thirds, of our public spending.

      Not that I would wish to scaremonger, of course, and obviously something would have to change before then; but this is what the simple arithmetic says, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t say it as well, in a careful, defensible, way.

      I wonder if anybody has the figures for the last 43 years readily to hand? I expect I have them somewhere, but it would save me searching for them.

      • hefner
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Well, just to be a pain and illustrate that one can get whatever from figures …
        If taking the UK net contribution to the EU, it was £6.2 bn in 1998, and if computing a growth rate over a different number of years, one gets a different result!
        (Section 4, http://www.parliament.uk Briefing paper 06091).

        I don’t want to negate the fact that the UK contribution has been increasing over the years, just to point out that different timescales give different growth rates.
        So I’m afraid Denis Cooper’s projections are close to worthless.

        Talk of this to a climate scientist …

        • Hope
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          It is a bit difficult when even the ONS claim they do not know what the UK contribution is! Is this true or is the Govt preventing us knowing the truth? Dennis Cooper’s contribution is always sound. You do yourself a disservice by making such comments. Look in the mirror.

          • hefner
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            I am really sorry, but given that figures are being brought up by the dozens every day in an attempt to convince people, it might still be a reasonable exercise to show that most of the figures whether from the Stay In or the Leave sides are full of uncertainties.
            There are very good reasons for these uncertainties. Snapshot statistics can be informative, growth rates and projections usually are not as too much dependent on timescales and potentially random “events”. You would expect sensible people to know that, but most of them do not seem to do.

            As for looking in the mirror, I would much prefer seeing somebody who has not swallowed any crazy statistics than a thick-as-a-plank who every morning congratulates JR for his insights on life, and life after Brexit.

            This blog starts to look much more like a fan club than like anything really constructive (and this despite what I perceive as JR’s efforts to be (reasonably) informative).

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          As the chart there is “UK annual net contributions to EU Budget
          £ billion, real terms, 1973-2015 and OBR forecasts 2016-20”, not nominal or cash terms, you’ll need to either adjust your 1998 figure or look up the actual cash figure.

          However taking those real terms numbers on the chart our net contribution has increased roughly tenfold since we joined, which averages out as 6% a year, over and above inflation, with the rate of growth accelerating in the past decade or so – and we know that part of that will be the subsidies being paid to the poorer countries which joined the EU in 2004.

  7. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Does your leader allow you to ask people what they want? I had thought not. What I want is to get the Deficit down and to start repaying the Debt as soon as possible. What I also want is a new Prime Minister. Does anybody have any idea what his latest speech is all about? Admittedly I found it as usual so embarrassing that I couldn’t read it thoroughly and couldn’t grasp it but it seemed to be saying that if we left the EU we would be retiring from the World. If that is what he wanted to say it is just more evidence of his obsession with the EU, for the truth is surely the other way round.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Postscript–Sorry “retreat” from the World I apparently should have said. The man’s mad.

    • Hope
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      This is the man who warned us the EU could make treaties in our name without asking! Now the chief negotiator states he will unequivocally fight to stay in the EU. What is his lever to obtain anything? He is now scaremongering that somehow the UK will be safer and it will stop North Korean aggression and the Russians invading Ukrane! Astonishing when you consider his provocative speech about advancing the EU to the Urals! He never mentioned EU expansionism into the Ukrane which caused the tension in the first place or not keeping yo the agreement with the Russins when the Berlin Wall came down.

      Come on JR, he must go! Where is the balance whe he is stopping his ministers from speaking about leaving the EU? We need them to have moral fortitude to face this idiot down.

      • Timaction
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Leave him in post he is totally discredited!

    • NHSGP
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Debt or borrowing?

      Remember that Labour left a £5,010 billion pension debt on top of the borrowing

    • turboterrier
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Leslie Singleton

      That was delivered with a certain amount of wow factor.

      I loved it

  8. Margaret
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    As far as the public sector is concerned the pay should be graded fairly , according to years served and input. On paper the theory is that it happens now. In practice establishments get rid of those who are climbing the ranks . If they appear to know more, which they should according to years served , they are stupidly accused of picking up on youngsters who have been given more powers as they are cheaper. I am in favour of steady progression and not cut throat tactics.
    Tony Blair always said that children are the future; he was right , however they are the future and not the present . We must build am environment where they are capable of taking responsibility, not give them highly paid jobs straight out of university. Any educational help which can be given at nursery age to guide and shape future lives to live in harmony must be a sensible course of action.
    With the changing religious backgrounds of our nation it would be unfair to deny some their beliefs , however above those beliefs there must be a humanitarian approach where ethics lead. The good cohesive aspects of religion could possibly be focused on more
    clearly in their own communities where non violence , truth telling , fairness and equality of persons take more weight. Children at an early age would then be able to determine for themselves when things were not quite right. Integrated nursery education must improve things for the future.

    • NHSGP
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      What has time served got to do with it?

      • Jerry
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Experience perhaps?….

  9. ColinD.
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I would spend the £10bn to ensure all our manufacturers pay exactly the same for their energy as France or Germany. This would give give a boost to manufacturing and make our products more competitive in the world markets.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      No need to spend money to get energy prices in fact the reverse. Let get them down to US levels about half current levels. We just need to abandon the green crap religion and regulations, get back to coal, gas, oil and start fracking as the market dictates. Also remove all the absurd wind and PV tax subsidies.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, Not sure removing the subsidies will be enough. We need a complete ban on wind farms and a return to sensible energy policy. See below.

        http://www.farminguk.com/News/Still-considerable-returns-to-be-made-despite-reduction-in-support-for-wind-energy_38651.html

        With the SNP worshiping wind, that’s the end of Scotland.

      • turboterrier
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Spot on as usual regarding subsidies.

        One of my customers is a part time professor and lay preacher who has Bio Mass Boiler wet and PV solar and is telling me that energy has to be priced higher to stop the people using it!!!! What an idiot seems never to have heard of the millions in fuel debt and poverty.

        The only religion he is interested in is money and renewables.

        That is the whole thing now it is all about money no more no less and Jo Public and industry pay

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      The Climate Change Act costs us £18bn a year. Removing that insidious piece of Socialist economic sabotage would solve much of our uncompetitive energy problems.

      • Hope
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but the Cameron government wants interconnecters and interdependence with other EU countries so the UK is integrated with the EU and unable to leave. Irrespective of job losses, or economic failure to the UK. It is a form of entrapment brought about by the Climate Change Act. Introduced by Milband and gold plated by Cameron. At least Miliband has the conviction of his own ideas, whereas Cameron ridiculed him and then copied and followed him!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Cameron is as usual just wrong, wrong, wrong. He is after all just a Libdim at heart.

          He is wrong on the green crap, wrong on endless increase to taxes, wrong on interest rates, wrong on the non gender pay gap, wrong on his absurd happiness index, wrong on the “let’s have no deterrents” criminal justice system, wrong on token women etc regardless of merit, wrong on Libya, wrong on the other pointless wars, wrong on the EU, wrong on tax complexity, wrong on an ever bloated state, wrong on destroying private pensions and the robbing of landlords, wrong on his tax borrow and piss down the drain agenda, wrong on HS2, wrong on the bike super highway, wrong on wind farms & PV subsidies …………

          What has he done that is right so far? I suppose he criminalised squatting (alas in residential properties only) and abolished (nearly) the totally moronic HIP packs (but for the moronic energy certificate part). Perhaps he has granted a fair referendum on the EU but we shall see. He seems rather desperate to slant the field and endlessly lie as much as he dares.

          Any other positives? (Other than the Ed Miliband dog wagged by a Nicola Sturgeon tail would have been far worse?) The only reason he scraped home.

        • Jagman84
          Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          The problem was that Miliband the younger bowed to pressure from green activists and set the CO2 reduction target at 80% (to a level not seen since the 1800’s) instead of the still insane 60% target.

  10. hefner
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    £10 bn, 60 m UK people, £167/person.

    Pensions £153 bn.
    Health £138 bn.
    Education £89 bn.
    Defence £45 bn.
    Welfare £110 bn.
    Transport £20 bn.
    Interest.£45 bn.
    Protection £14 bn.
    General gov’t £9 Bn.
    Figures for 2015-2016: total £760 bn.

    So we are discussing here is a potential increase by 1.3 %. I just hope JR will not spend too much of his precious time on this “joke”.

    • Hope
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      You make the mistake of not including ancillary costs through regulation and directives or the inability to trade with countries that the EU will not allow. Come on, your replies are normally smarter than this nonsense.

      • hefner
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Hope, Fair point, thanks.

        Looking at Briefing paper 06091 published on http://www.parliament.uk on 19/01/2016 “UK-EU economic relations”, and in particular to its section 5, Cost-benefit analysis of EU membership.
        It quotes reports by Inst.Econ.Affairs, OpenEurope, UKIP, Centre for Econ.Performance@LSE, CBI, and Dept.Business Innov.&Skills, which account for ancillary costs through regulation and directives.

        Benefit is +, loss is -:
        Results are:
        IEA: -3.2 to -3.7 %
        OpEu: -2.2 to +1.55 %
        UKIP: – £ 77 bn (can’t their experts compute percentages?)
        CEP/LSE: +2.2 to 9.5 %.
        CBI: + 4 to 5 %.
        DBIS: + 6 %.

        It is to despair of economists. Who should I believe? JR, without any doubt?

        • The Active Citizen
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          Hefner, you said that Denis Cooper’s proposed calculation above is pointless and that figures can be made to show what you want.

          I agree about figures in general. I used 2009 as the base point for my comment on the growth in the UK’s net EU contribution because that was the last year in the ONS’s latest document. Anyway, seven years seemed reasonable as a comparison. Denis’ suggestion of going back to the first year of our membership seemed equally reasonable, but I didn’t have the figures. Denis is normally very sound on real facts, by the way.

          Your own figures were interesting: “£10 bn, 60 m UK people, £167/person.” I don’t know where you got the figure of 60m people from. It’s not the total population and it’s also not the number of adults. This makes your figure of £167/person meaningless.

          May I very respectfully suggest that we don’t quote figures to disprove each other when these may be used by the Remainers? I think we’re all on the same side here, aren’t we?

          The headline for any Leave campaigns reading this and wanting a useful soundbite should be that :
          This year the UK is forecast to pay £11.1bn to the EU, net. This represents 2.5 times what it was only seven years ago, and is an enormous membership fee for so little benefit.

    • hefner
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Comparing HMRC’s figures on how my tax is used, I see that the U.K. Contributions to the EU was 0.75 % for 2013/14, and 0.6% for 2014/2015, which practically for me was a decreased contribution.
      Maybe some of the contributors on this blog should check their figures before howling like wolves. Everybody who has filled a tax self-assessment can have access to the same figures in percent and actual contributions.

      In percentage, the spending under the different headings was (first 2013/14, second 2014/15):
      Welfare. 24.52 — 25.3.
      Health. 18.87 — 19.9.
      State pensions. 13.15 — 12.8.
      Education. 12.12 — 12.5
      Defence 5.31 — 5.4.
      Nat’al debt interest: 7.0 — 5.0.
      Public order & safety: 4.4 — 4.4.
      Transport: 2.95 – 3.0.
      Business &Industry: 2.74 — 2.7
      Gov’t administration: 2.05 — 2.0
      Culture: 1.69 — 1.8
      Environnement: 1.66 — 1.7
      Housing & Utilities: 1.64 — 1.6
      Overseas aid: 1.15 — 1.3
      UK contribution to EU: 0.75 — 0.6

      So … who is trying to influence the public, writing day after day about the 0.6 – 0.75 % of the budget. I can figure out that it is very important to JR. I am not sure, seeing these figures, whether this is still so important to me.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      As it happens, last year at a general election meeting my local MP quoted that same trivial sum, £10 billion a year, as the projected benefit to the UK economy of TTIP, the proposed EU-US trade deal, and a reason for us to stay in the EU.

      While her boss had promised somewhat greater benefits in 2013, and then the figure was £11 billion, the same as this year’s net contribution to the EU:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/g8/10126201/Quitting-EU-would-damage-Britain.html

      “The Prime Minister said it would be worth £11 billion to Britain, the equivalent of £384 for every household, bringing two million new jobs and “lower prices in the shops”.”

      There’s some confusion with those three statistics, because the £11 billion and the £384 per household both refer just to the UK, while the two million new jobs is not for the UK alone but for the whole of the EU*.

      However whether it’s £10 billion a year or £11 billion a year it’s a one-off increase in GDP – actually equivalent to about 0.7%, or one quarter’s typical natural growth – and not the increase in government revenues arising from that increase in GDP, which would be something like £4 billion a year.

      So there we have it. A projected boost to government revenues of £4 billion a year arising from the proposed EU-US trade deal would be so important that we must stay in the EU and not miss out on that cornucopia, the good times will roll, while the government saving £10 billion a year by leaving the EU is just a “joke”.

      * The EU economy would be “turbocharged” by this trade deal to the extent of £100 million a year, which would be 0.9% added to GDP of about €13000, and the total labour force across the EU is about 242 million, so on a simple pro rata calculation that would be an extra 2.2 million jobs; for the UK alone a 0.7% increase on 33 million would be about 230,000 new jobs, which once again is comparable to a quarter’s growth in the number of people employed.

  11. Antisthenes
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Government is about spending taxpayers money mostly unwisely, paying for a vast army of bureaucrats, politicians and public sector workers and other things like foreign aid. So to my mind once rid of the EU we should start looking at ways to downsize our own government local and national so spending the £10 billion there is not a sound choice.

    Government encouraged by vested interests have a propensity to throw good money after bad. For instance the clamour always is when things like the police or NHS perform badly as they perpetually do is to give them more money to put their houses in order. It does not do any such thing as that does not address the underling causes of the problems they are suffering from. Better would be to attempt to de-monopolise them so that market forces and/or the public directly force them to become more efficient and productive.

    Where possible privatisation of provision and funding or at least partially so is the answer in other cases localisation would be better. Then it would be seen that more can be done for less and that throwing money at the problem was the worst of all options.

    The £10 billion apart from helping the balance of payment deficit which is a good reason in it’s own right for repatriating that money should be used to bring down the UK’s deficit as that helps everyone in the long run.

  12. Pete
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    If you think, Mr Redwood, that the British government is better able to judge how to spend it’s money than the EU the same logic should mean that it’s real owners(the tax slaves) could spend it even better. That could best be achieved by not stealing it from them in the first place.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Exactly governments probably spend it with about 20% of the efficiency of the person they took it from in the first place. They act of taking it off them also inconvenienced the victim too. Then they waste load in administration then they spend it on some lunacy like wind farm grants.

      They are after all spending other people’s money on things for other people. So they care not what they pay not what (if any) value they get. Not do they car if the people even wanted these things.

  13. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Get manufacturing going and pay the debt down. Plus fixing farming so that we can sustain ourselves properly. Thin out the HoL in a big way!

    It’ll likely cost us a small fortune watering down/killing the impact of looney EU directives.

    Treat all UK residents to lunches and banquets.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Well Osborne should actually keep his promise on inheritance tax, rather than the complex, ratting, joke he has planned. In fact he could afford to abolish IHT fully and also remove the cap and absurdly low contribution limits on private pensions. He should send out the message that the UK welcomes the rich, hard working and the self sufficient to the UK and will not mug them at every turn as he has done in the past.

    Any remaining money should be used to fire the 50% or so in the state sector who do little or any value for the public or just inconvenience it as so many do. Also to cut all the absurd endless regulations and bonkers expensive energy agenda. This would give another huge bonus to the economy of perhaps fifty times the £10bn, increasing productivity hugely and thus expanding industry and jobs hugely.

    Perhaps start by scrapping the happiness index and the reporting of the gender pay gaps and the endless other pointless nonsense, relaxing planning and bringing in easy hire and fire.

  15. alan jutson
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    You of course are quite right, the EU costs and wastes money, as does our own Government, Local Authorities, and many State funded institutions.

    Also with the EU out of the way, we cut some of our expenditure at a stroke.

    The most simple measure that will benefit all, is to raise the personal tax free allowance that everyone gets to a much, much higher and more significant level, like £15,000 or even more per person, in one jump.
    You will also perhaps encourage even more to work rather than stay on Benefits.

    You immediately put more money into most peoples pockets, most of whom will spend more, so Vat income is increased, which will help offset some of the initial cost.

    In the longer term we clearly need to simplify our Tax and Benefit System, as both are far, far too complicated.
    Aware Duncan Smith is trying with the Universal Benefit system but as yet this appears untried.
    At the same time we need to change to a contributions based Benefits system for all.

    Scrap the Road fund licence and keep duty simply on fuel.
    Thus it kills evasion of the road fund tax at a stroke, and you then pay for what you use, its so, so simple.

    More idea’s will follow.

  16. Mark B
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Control over our tax affairs would mean that we can help those who are on low incomes. VAT levels being a good start as everyone benefits from lower rates.

    The removal of VAT on hot food and other necessities would also be seen as good move as this will help to increase trade in the much hit local high street.

    A reduction in Corporation Tax for SME’s would also be welcome.

    But I believe that we should spend any windfall on areas of the UK that are the most economically depressed. Lower business rates for these areas would I think be beneficial.

  17. FrankH
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “…the EU insists on us sending more and more tax revenue to them as they think they can spend it better than we can…”

    I feel the same way about my money that the British government thinks it can spend better than I can. Tax cuts for me, the government already spends (wastes) far too much of my money.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is alas mainly waste. Much of their expenditure does positive harm such as the wind and PV subsidies. Or the blocking the roads with bus and bike lanes or the joke that is HS2.

  18. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    If it were to be spent, it should go on some clearly visible and big modernisation and security projects, maybe those which have previously been ruled out as unaffordable, or entirely new concepts for the urgent modernisation and rebuilding of our country. These should then be clearly promoted as benefits of our leaving. We should also use these projects to rebuild our own domestic businesses, workforces and skills.

    When the first ones have been completed, the practice should continue on others for subsequent years, a rolling programme in other words. £10 billion pa or thereabouts is an awful lot of money and spent sensibly will be transforming. We should no longer need to go cap in hand to foreign sources for example, and we could regain our self-respect.

    My preference would be however, for it to go first directly to the reduction of the deficit and its earlier elimination with the amounts being identified in each budget for all to see, and then for it to be spent on projects, which take a long time in the planning anyway, so this could be well how it would work out.

    Under no circumstances should it be frittered away by dissipating it into existing budget lines where it will likely become invisible, as questions will soon be asked about where the financial benefits have gone.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      I’ll flatter myself by giving the plan a name – The UK Independence Capital Fund.

  19. oldtimer
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    My suggestion is to pay all of the first year’s the saving back to taxpayers (as a cash rebate) and in subsequent years deploy the savings for debt reduction, tax reform and for public spending contingencies.

  20. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    OK here goes.
    There is so much rubbish floating round in this “debate”. So many bruised egos…
    But how do we undo 40 years of treaties with Brussels/Strasbourg? How do we deal with all those Directives? How do we actually leave the EU before it is too late? What happens to all that European trade?
    I have written a little thing on Brexit which takes just 10 minutes to read. It contains all the griff you need. It is largely lifted from Dr Richard North’s Flexcit – which seems to be totally unread and unknown for some reason (over 400 close-written pages…).
    My contribution to the debate is free. My qualifications are 5 years of writing lesson plans for the TES website. All you have to do is ask!

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Mike, I like many others are banned from RN’s site because we take opposing views on things. I agree with JR, Flexcit appears to assume that it will take as long to rid ourselves of the EU as we have been members i.e. about 40 years.
      If we go via the Norway model we will be stuck there for another 40 years.
      The EU will likely collapse within the next ten years due to the Euro and migration crisis.
      Yes I have downloaded Flexcit and fear it is very cumbersome and complicated procedure when repealing the communities act and slowly repealing the legislation gives us a clean break.
      JR is doing an excellent job with his daily essays which are really educational.

  21. Shieldsman
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The continued claim that he has reformed the EU raises serious doubts about Mr Cameron’s leadership of the United Kingdom.

    Wither the Conservative Party?
    How many paces to the left has it stepped since Cameron became leader.
    Have they usurped the postion of the Liberal Democrats and almost blown them away.

    How do you know when the Prime Minister has failed and is fibbing?
    When the Party Constituency Committees write and tell him so. They have sussed him out in their letter.

    “We do not feel these manifesto commitments alone were enough to represent a good deal for Britain in Europe, but given the clarity of the commitment they were at least the minimum outcome we could hope for in any renegotiation,” the letter states.
    “As they have not been met, the only responsible and honest thing for the Conservative Party – and for those in it – to do, is campaign for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
    “You made clear that if you did not get the deal you wanted in Europe you would not rule out campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union yourself, and we hope you will now unite your party and Britain in doing so.
    “We ask that you consider the long term future of the Conservative Party and its wishes as a community, and take the views of grassroots members as seriously as your predecessors have.”

    Mr Cameron is rattled that he has been caught out. How do we know – he is calling in the favours and Eric Pickles is having to pay for his knighthood.
    In an email to Tory councillors he pleads: –
    “Dear Councillor,
    I am writing to you as Patron of Conservatives for Reform in Europe, a campaign launched a few weeks ago by a group of Conservatives who believe that change and reform of the EU is vital for the future of Britain. We support the Prime Minister in his battle to achieve a better deal with our European partners.
    Many of us are deeply sceptical about the EU, but we believe that on balance it is better for Britain to remain in a reformed Europe rather than out on our own”.

    Our Prime Minister’s proposed reforms will:
    Protect our sovereignty by removing the UK from ‘ever closer union’
    Boost competitiveness to create jobs and help British business
    Keep us out of the single currency and secure the pound
    Control immigration from the EU and end ‘something for nothing’ welfare

    When the Prime Minister announced the referendum, he was fulfilling a pledge we, as a Party, made to the British people before last year’s General Election. If the current media speculation is accurate, this referendum will be in June, within weeks of the May elections in which I know you will be campaigning in and playing your part. You can read more about what Brexit would mean for Britain in this excellent speech delivered by my chum the Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP earlier this week”.
    Yours sincerely,The Rt Hon Sir Eric Pickles MP

    Andrew Gimson
    In this interview, Nick Herbert denies being a Cameron stooge and claims the Prime Minister has “put a spoke in the EU ratchet”. Herbert says “most of those who are criticising these reforms now actually want to leave”.

    Note: We lost our Sovereignty under the various treaties culminating in Lisbon.
    Immigration from the EU can never be controlled whilst we have FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      “Keep us out of the single currency and secure the pound”

      Stuff and nonsense, this is one of the amendments to the proposals, as leaked:

      http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03572/Draft_Brexit_Concl_3572712a.pdf

      “This is without prejudice to the fact that Member States whose currency is not the euro, other than those without an obligation to adopt the euro or exempted from it, are committed under the Treaties to make progress towards fulfilling the conditions necessary for the adoption of the single currency.”

      We have a treaty opt-out from ever having to join the euro, as does Denmark, and that is not in any way changed by these “reforms”; but equally the legal obligation on all other EU member states to join the euro is also not changed; therefore we would still be heading towards being the only member state of the EU not to have adopted its currency, until eventually some future government of whichever party decided that this was no longer a tenable position and bounced us into it, with or without a referendum as they saw fit.

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think many of the East Europeans are scrambling to join regardless of treaty obligations.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          The Czechs are working up to it.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Herbert by name…

  22. Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    How about just paying down the national debt? Although I’m not totally opposed to having some sort of “Brexit Bribe” payout in the first year, as others here have suggested.

  23. Cheshire Girl
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I was irritated this morning to hear that our Prime Minister has made a speech in Europe, saying, the UK will never ‘retreat from the world’ . Perhaps he should re-read our history, and remember that we used to run half of it!

  24. John Bracewell
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Trouble is I do not know what each suggestion might cost, so I will probably spend the £10bn p,a, multiple times, but my list would be:
    half the saving so £5 bn p.a. towards deficit reduction until zero and then debt reduction.
    2% reduction in VAT
    Increased spending on infrastructure:-
    build our own nuclear power stations for energy independence
    transport on railways and roads without the perpetual argument as to whether we can afford it.
    IF any thing left then increase spending on mental health, and home nursing to unblock NHS beds usage.
    I do not think promising Brexit bonuses or bribes to vote Leave will work on the British people, explanations of what we could do with the money we send to the EU is more likely to influence people.

  25. Martyn G
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    OT but relevant to sovereignty issues, I see today the DT says that Austria is threatening to send its army into Macedonia to stop the flow of migrants. Shadows of the past re-appearing maybe?
    Clearly, Austria would appear to have retained more of its sovereignty than has the UK!

  26. Bert Young
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Active Citizen has made some interesting and constructive proposals ; I endorse all of them. There is no doubt that if we achieve “Brexit” it will cost us to re-create Trade deals of one sort or another ; this implies that we should not adopt a spendthrift mode – we must keep reserves up our sleeves . My priorities would certainly focus on reducing energy costs – particularly to the manufacturing sector and investing in education ( our future wealth providers ).

    Re-establishing a noble independent sovereign country is a task a new Government will face ; it needs to be spearheaded by a respected figure of the Thatcher/Churchill mode – one who will make sure that we will have influence and bring stability to world affairs . This leader will be a person who has a demonstrated successful record whose age and experience is beyond doubt . No MP in the future ought to be elected without such a credible record .

  27. agricola
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Remember that promises made by the leave campaign require power to carry them out. This would require a new PM and at least 50% of the cabinet currently desperate to keep us in.

    In terms of UK tax the overriding need is for a simplified tax system. If Hong Kong can be as successful as it is on a manual of a reputed 260 pages why do we need a reputed 17,000 pages for a scratching at the bottom of the barrel existence.

    The UK needs ever more manufacturing industry. To incentivise the home grown version and that which might settle from overseas, reduce Corporation Tax drastically. I have in mind 10%. Make it clear to service companies that incorporate overseas or shift profit by overcharging for services and commodities from overseas to ensure a zero profit base in the UK, that they will be taxed on business generated in the UK.

    If you wish to incentivise individuals then get rid of Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty, and Capital Gains Tax. If the country is going to buzz again then the worker bees must know it is worthwhile. I would wish to have good reason to change my current advice to anyone with a degree in a useful profession to look overseas for your working life, to stay at home because the country respects you and wishes to reward you.

    I would continue what IDS has started and radically overhaul the welfare state including the NHS. Not in it’s principal of free at the point of need, but in the type of organisation that provides it. Competition produces efficiency, both of which appear sadly lacking at times in the NHS, for all the dedication most of the workforce might apply to the work. I say this because there is little point in incentivising income for individuals or the country if you do not deal with expenditure at the same time.

    I do not wish to encourage spending increases, but accept that there are some neglected areas that need looking at. How you defend two aircraft carriers with a total fleet of 30 or so ships while undertaking all other defence duties I know not, unless someone has invented an impervious electronic defence bubble in which they operate. Our Border Force needs to operate as such. Our fisheries will need protection from the air and at sea. Both the Falklands and Gibraltar will need a more obvious military presence. Our Special Forces will need to be increased because most future threats will be of the ISIS type I fear. Our remote military power also needs to be boosted in support.

    I think those are enough thoughts to be going on with. The most important immediate consideration is to ensure a Brexit, and have a plan in place to implement on exit. There is no future in no mans land without a good map. CMD, like Colonel Blimp, seems to glory in having no post Brexit map.

  28. ian wragg
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Our subscription to Brussels increases exponentially to the amout of powers we cede to them.
    Ultimately if its left to the establishment led by Dave, all tax revenues will be sent to Brussels and they will dictate spending.
    I see Obama is going to speak for Dave on EU membership, that should be good. Anything that loser likes should be avoided at all costs.
    Why doesn’t the USA have free movement with the NAFTA countries if its so good.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    “The Leave campaign has made clear we would want to pay farmers, universities and others the same sums as they get today from the EU out of the money we get back.”

    Well, of course at present there is no officially designated Leave campaign, and nobody outside the cabinet knows when there will be because either Cameron hasn’t decided yet or he has decided but he is keeping it from the public until it suits him to tell us.

    This is precisely why many people favoured changing to fixed term Parliaments – to stop Prime Ministers being able to call general elections at their convenience, and moreover being able to use the threat of an immediate general election to frighten their supporters in the Commons into line, as Major did over the Maastricht Treaty – but now we find the same thing is happening with this referendum.

    Anyway when there is a designated Leave campaign it will only be able to propose what the government should do after we have left the EU, and it is a sensible and reassuring proposal that all existing contracts should be honoured and there should be a period of ten(?) years during which people are guaranteed to get from the UK government at least what they were expecting to get from the EU.

    No doubt the Remain campaign will say the opposite, that all EU funding would be cut off the day after we voted to leave, and while that would be as ludicrous as the threat that the government would arrange for the Calais Jungle to be relocated in Kent it would be better for Leave to have a proposal which is not only sensible but clear and unambiguous.

  30. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I would like to see some of it spent on regaining our fisheries industry after the EU have decimated it. I would like to see some of it spent on our NHS but not on freeloaders from abroad. I would like to see more housing built but again, used for our own people who are living in sub standard accommodation or who are homeless and not for immigrants. Let’s start looking after our own before others for a change.

    • sm
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      A Brexit Bonus and British fair play.

      web search http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/642236/Expert-warn-EU-membership-damage-cancer-research-collapse-NHS-health

      We could train more of our own Doctors with specific conditional loans to encourage and expand high quality supply in the UK and abroad (countries less fortunate or organized)

      We could also increase overseas pensions for older expats who may have suffered because of discriminatory treatment.

      We could use it it remedy other injustices.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        @sm: But the UK could do all that inside the EU, just as other EU member countries do, our politicos (both left, right and centre) chosen not to do so over the last number of years.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          Do you really think the BMA would agree to that Jerry?

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; That is indeed a question, Brexit or no Brexit, only the BMA can answer the question you pose…

            Oh and Good day to you Sir! As I suspect you were just after another silly argument regarding this.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            I was talking about the numbers of Doctors we train in comparison to the number we need and the number we then need to steal from other countries as a result.
            The BMA is opposed to increasing places at UK med schools.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The relative success of the UK economy is owing to that which is different to the EU and not similar:

    Being able to set our own interest rates.

    Being out of the EZ.

    Therefore the less in common the better !

  32. Jerry
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Transport infrastructure is an obvious public sector spend (road, rail and air). As for tax cuts, totally scrap VAT, return to some form of graded purchase tax on items above a certain value. There needs to be a rethink on Business Rates as at present it becomes a disincentive to many a SME.

    Please steer well clear of suggesting personal tax cuts, they will be seen by the left (thus used by the BSE group against those seeking a Brexit) as a referenda ‘bribe’…

    • Edward2
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      There is only a £15 billion a year to play with Jerry.
      Your shopping list would cost hundreds of billions
      VAT brings in well over £100 billion a year on its own.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; “Your shopping list would cost hundreds of billions”

        Were did I say that my shopping list would be all bought in the first 12 months, or even the first 5 years (it might take that long to plan the new road or rebuilt railway routes etc), nor do you seem to have noticed that whilst I called for the abolition of VAT I suggested that it be replaced by a suitably graded purchase tax [1], something that would (likely) give an effective personal tax cut for all -even children’s pocket money, not just those in certain income tax brackets.

        [1] returning to what was in place before VAT, if you remember… 🙂

        • Edward2
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Hundreds of billions divided by 5 is still more than 15 per year.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; I doubt infrastructure improvements will cost anything like what you think, no one is talking about building 50 new motorways, or completely new railway routes.

            Also do remember that the savings from a Brexit could well be a lot more than the £15bn pa, as much of the money we receive back from the EU has been assigned to projects that they tell us we need money spent on -ever noticed those Blue backgrounded, yellow stared, boards proclaiming how the ‘what ever project’ was funded by the EU?…

  33. graham1946
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Abolish VAT which is an EU construct. I know 10 billion won’t cover that so a small turnover tax on all businesses, whether a window cleaner or a multi-national. No exceptions, zero rating or paying out and claiming back and all the absurdities about whether a hot pasty is liable or not. You could practically halve HMRC straight away and employ some of those in collecting the proper amount of tax big business currently slides out of. No sweetheart deals, no wining and dining officials, just pay up or be fined, just like the rest of us.

  34. Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Interesting comments about how the EU spends the money, when our own government is less than spend thrift and wastes money like there is no tomorrow. But in any case there are other benefits to being in the EU. One being access to the educational establishments for our young people at a massively cheaper cost than studying in the UK. So clearly my priority is in the investment in education which is a foundation of a country’s well being and wealth.

  35. Atlas
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    … spend it on reliable power stations that can keep the lights on …

  36. nick
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    My choice would be to cut the deficit.

    But, as most people are economically innumerate, you will have to bribe them.

    Try spending the money on housing.

  37. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    JR in agreement with one or two other Commenters to these pages, tangible money. Money placed in the hands of our people on Brexit. A definite date.

    This money should be viewed as Money-Back, it could feature on a leaflet as such; cash back from our payments to the EU.
    In the form of a tax refund/cash payment. Then an annual real Money-Back payment.

    Also a proper written constitution. Along the lines of the American Constitution. Yes, I know writing law-in-stone can have consequences. But surety is good. I have heard one government must not handcuff future governments in action. But our EU treaties are already manacles ready to click shut. Just look at the foreign and domestic forces trying to put us all into an EU Slammer for all time. Once we break free, this situation must not be allowed to happen again.
    It should not be possible for another Prime Minister humiliating our Country across Europe begging foreign leaders to allow us not to pay them our money.

  38. MPC
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I would suggest a menu of compelling options, not just tax-cuts based ones, to prevent any accusations of ‘Brexit tax cuts will disproportionately benefit the rich’. So say:

    – Across the board equal tax cuts for all
    – a tax cuts option confined to the less well off, suitably defined
    – several options which combine tax cuts for the less well off with higher expenditure on key public services such as health, education, housing, with ‘illustrations’ for each (e.g. the number of additional nurses/teachers/houses each option brings)
    – options which are confined to higher public expenditure on key these services

    May also be worth mentioning regularly the costs of compliance with EU laws – which I know from experience in the energy industry are huge – and about which the public is largely unaware.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      MPC; “Across the board equal tax cuts for all”

      I agree, but the only way of doing that is radical change to VAT, not everyone pays income tax, not everyone buys road fuel, alcohol etc.

      As for energy, out of the EU the last 5% VAT could be cut all energy utility bills, and I would extend the tax cut to telecoms/internet utility bills too. Telecoms/internet is now all but an essential utility as water and sewage is, even more so as HMG and their Agencies moves ever more forms on-line etc.

      We talked about farming the other day, has anyone costed how much the government might have to underwrite the provision of either high speed fibre broadband or suitable two-way satellite based broadband to every farm – would this be a wise use of a Brexit windfall?

  39. Posted February 13, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    The temptation is to spend the £10bn net contribution – several times over !

    However, we are in danger of forgetting that we are still running a massive deficit despite the protests from Labour over “austerity”.

    My definition of policy of Austerity would be a Government that, having reduced taxes to a more reasonable level, continues to cut spending every year despite eliminating the deficit.

    We are a million miles away from that so, maybe we could afford to spend £1-2bn of the net £10bn saved, but the rest have to be put towards eliminating the deficit and, when that’s been done, reducing the debts we have incurred at the expense of our children.

    The first thing I would do in year one would be to use some of this money to rebuild our fishing industry with a fleet of new boats built in Britain. They would be financed by the Government’s Marine Management Organisation and leased on favourable terms to experienced British fishermen and based in our historic fishing ports.

    All fisherman would have to be licenced crew based in the UK with a UK qualification. Then, as I wrote this last sentence, I realised that, free from Brussels, it would be unnecessary : we could simply specify that all the crew of these new UK-funded boats need to be UK citizens !

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      @ChrisS; What was the UK total deficit post WW2, how many years did it take to pay it off, did we cut our way out of the debt or did we manage the debt so to allow inward investment that then allowed for better economic condition. “Deficit Reduction” is a nice strap-line, it half won an election in 2010, it helped in 2015, but I suspect few still believe it in the way it was used in 2008-2010, if anything it is now being used by Labour against this government.

  40. Posted February 13, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how far £10bn would go but let’s take as many people out of Tax and NI and, as important, employers contributions as possible. It will create jobs, cut benefits and, above all, encourage hundreds of thousands of self-employed to become employers with consequent impacts on growth and productivity.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      @John Swannick; A better way to help self employed and SME’s is to cut the red-tape and fixed overheads etc, which is another Brexit bonus as many of the problems stem from the EU. People first need the work to justify employing someone else, then they probably need suitable business premisses to house an expanding business – working out of the family garage or spare room might be suitable for a sole trader but not a burgeoning SME!

  41. BeeCee
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I read that the EU auditors estimate that c. £4.5bn is unaccounted for in the most recent accounts and that this potential fraud has been ignored yet again by the finance chiefs of the EU countries except the UK and 2 others.

    If for no other reason our Government should vote to leave this inherently fraudulent group.

  42. Alan
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    People should note that continuing to pay “farmers, universities, and others” the same as they now receive from the EU in the event of a vote to leave is not government policy. There is no guarantee that if we vote to leave this will happen. Indeed I can see good reasons for questioning whether it is sensible to retain the current way farming is subsidised. Some Eurosceptics have said that they believe some of the current spending is poorly directed, so they would presumably not support continuing all current payments.

    Some people will lose out, so those whose income is dependent on one of these payments, and their dependants, will mostly vote to remain in the EU. They won’t be certain that their income will continue afterwards.

    This is another example of the Leave campaigns claiming that nothing much will change after a vote to leave, but everything will be better. It’s a similar argument to the one the SNP used.

    Reply Vote Leave MPs are signed up to this, and the government has not disagreed. I cannot see the government either wanting to slash farm subsidies or being able to.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      So can your side guarantee that the EU funding currently received by certain groups in the UK would continue unchanged in the future if we voted to stay in?

      I think not, and especially if there was further EU enlargement to the Urals, as your campaign leader has proposed, so taking in even more poor countries with a greater claim on the “EU money” while further diluting the UK’s voting power.

      • Alan
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        No, I can’t guarantee anything, but it seems quite reasonable to suppose that payments currently being made will carry on with relatively gradual changes. I don’t think we can assume that a future chancellor, presented with this money will spend it (or save it) in any specific way. It’s almost bound to be seen as ‘new’ money and will be used for whatever is the most pressing need at the time.

        Spending relatively modest amounts of money on the development of poorer EU countries doesn’t worry me – I think we will get our money back many times over in the future if the EU survives. Maybe even if it doesn’t. There are many less defensible things on which EU money is spent, in my view.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          @Alan; The current CAP payments system (that many UK farmers now rely on) could implode any time the French want it to, you can’t be “quite reasonable” about anything – unless of course it is our own government who is making the decisions… Are you French?! 😉

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          If we are going to subsidise countries in Eastern Europe then I’d much prefer that to be done directly out of the foreign aid budget rather than through the EU. That way we might even get some gratitude, rather than insolent complaints that they are subsidising our rebate just because that is the odd way that the EU system works.

  43. Rods
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I would money used for deficit reduction and to give every working person a pay rise. “Leave the EU and get a pay rise” would be a powerful incentive to vote to leave.

    Government austerity, while increasing the amount they spend has been partly due our every rising sovereign debts and the cost of servicing them. The sooner we eliminate the deficit the better. We have been lucky to date with the servicing costs due to exceptionally low interest rates. This will probably not be the case as our sovereign debts need to be refinanced in the future.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      @Rods; That will go down well with the unemployed (which include those not seeking employment for what ever reason) and the retired!

  44. DaveM
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I’ve noticed that DC has decided to use Merkel to try and bolster his pro-EU campaign.

    If there is one person in the world that British people don’t want to be associated with right now it’s Mad Merkel, with her continued attempts to destroy her homeland.

    Goes to show how utterly out-of-touch Cameron is. He’s losing it.

  45. Posted February 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Yes indeed. There lots of votes up for grabs from Labour supporters who are switching allegiance in large numbers. Readers of this blog may not agree with their politics but can you afford to get them offside and possibly lose their votes?

    I’ve just copied this from my Facebook page. (Deleting surnames to preserve their privacy)

    Paul xxxxx I used to be such a europhile but now I think the EU is just another neo liberal mechanism to ensure the rich get richer but on a vast scale.
    Like · Reply · 3 · 18 hrs

    Prue xxxxx Paul I am in agreement. If you had asked me a year or so ago I would have been a europhile too but then I started to read a lot. I am now intending to campaign with Labour Leave.
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · 18 hrs
    John xxxxx But Labour will not want to leave as long as there are jobs for the likes of the ex leaders and their wife’s are going on ?? it’s just one big gravy train for politicians and ex politicians
    Unlike · Reply · 4 · 18 hrs

    Prue xxxxxxx John xxxxx quite right it’s a bureaucratic, political and corporate gravy train and I am surprised that so many support the continuance of a neoliberal anti democratic institution in the pockets of corporations.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      The Left is selectively starting to mobilize for OUT.George Galloway has already declared he-and his party-will be campaigning for us to leave(excellent interview with Nigel Farage on his Sputnik show on RT today btw)and,reading a discarded copy of The Guardian on the train yesterday,I see that Canon Giles Fraser is also declaring for OUT.I really don’t know how Corbyn can credibly campaign for IN when many ofl his economic plans would be illegal under EU rules.

      • Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        I watched the interview it was exellent

      • Jerry
        Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Mitchel; I wish people would remember what “RT” stands for and who funds it (why do you think they no longer use their previous full name), that channel could yet become a fly in anyone’s ointment…

        As for Mr Galloway, he was on the BBC’s Daily Politics the other day and did indeed give a good interview/discussion.

        • Mitchel
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          I think most people know exactly what RT stands for and who funds it,just as they know who funds-or directs funding into-the British MSM.

  46. acorn
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Ten billion is peanuts in an £1800 billion economy. It won’t even register on the austerity gauge! Just take it off VAT. Change reduced rate to zero rate and take 1.5% off the standard rate of VAT.

    Reply It is an extra 0.6% on GDP, or around one third of our annual growth rate

    • acorn
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      I thought the £10 billion was already in the GDP calculation, it’s in the TME total???

  47. Will Rees
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that events this week in Portugal, where the anti austerity government have been forced into accepting EU prescripted budget has only reported in the FT. Not sure the left (who would go ballistic) read the FT. Would make Mr Corbyn’s position seem even more peculiar

  48. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Some interesting comments today.

    May I raise a general point? It really doesn’t matter what we’d do with the £11bn (yes, it’s £11bn this year) if we don’t win the Referendum. Hence my simplistic suggestion at the top of the page about a ‘Brexit Bonus’ for each individual 18yrs+. Or something like that.

    Christopher Houston suggested it be referred to as ‘Money-Back’ which is a nice thought. There are two things to avoid – any suggestion that this wasn’t our money in the first place, and any suggestion that it’s a bribe. That’s why I quite liked my ‘Brexit Bonus’ idea – like we’ve earned it. (We certainly have!)

    On the bribery point, this isn’t an election it’s a referendum. Nobody’s bribing anyone to vote for them or their party – we would merely be suggesting a way of using the British people’s own ‘saved’ money immediately following Brexit.

    Lest anyone doubt I’m sound, I’m entirely in favour of many of the comments on here regarding debt reduction, tax or NI reductions, dealing with structural problems, reducing energy costs, and other sound principles designed to support the economy. I would echo many opinions on here if we were talking about government finances in general.

    But that’s not what we’re talking about. I just think that perhaps we should try to think politically when it comes to JR’s question, if we want to win the Referendum.

    • Alan
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how many government projects would survive if the public voted on them one by one. I suspect not very many. Then, as time went past and more and more of the country’s infrastructure broke down, there would be some attempt to reverse the trend, but the damage would probably be too great to repair. Be careful what you wish for.

      However, I doubt if any of the proposals here will be taken up. I imagine the money will just disappear into the Treasury and be used for whatever projects seem urgent at the time.

    • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      The Active Citizen:
      Certainly I liked your ideas at the top of this column.

      I feel the STAY Campaign should be thrown a bone. It can then accuse the LEAVE Campaign of say bribery and other nastinesses. It will anyway. In the case of Money-Back or Cash-Back this would only make sure the point was brought to the attention of the public every time the STAY Campaign opened its collective mouth and the amount we pay to the EU repeated ad infinitum but hopefully not ad naseum as the idea of cash in your hand is so very attractive and conjures up for many not having to pay unhelpful tax.

  49. RB
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    We the people want a real Conservative, an Anglican who hold fast to the Westminster confession (all of it), including the bit about the pope.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      @RB; That is a most offensive comment, not only on religious grounds but how dare you speak for anyone other than yourself on such personal matters, I’m of the Anglican faith but you will never speak for me. It will be crass comments from people like you that not only see the Brexit side loose but also Mr Corbyn in No. 10 -and probably well before 2020 too.

      • RB
        Posted February 14, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        @RB; That is a most offensive comment, not only on religious grounds but how dare you speak for anyone other than yourself on such personal matters, I’m of the Anglican faith

        ( words left out ed)
        The Westminster confession is the corner stone of the Anglican faith. Our country was Great when we adhered to it and believed it as it was a sincere Scriptural search for theological and prophetic truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit. These days they are just making it up as they go along and I do not know what to believe incase its not politically correct.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          @RB; What did Christ teach about forgiveness and tolerance?…

          The last thing the UK needs is another bout of religious fundamentalism, the UK has been a multi faith country for 400 odd years, you are out of order.

          In fact I was gob-smacked that our host even allowed your original comment, but then it does say rather more about you @RB than anyone else of what ever faith…

          • Edward2
            Posted February 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            You have a rare talent for winding people up Jerry

          • Posted February 14, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            Peter Hitchens knows all about it as I have told him several times and he believes me and allows me to post my testimony on his blog.

          • Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            In fact I was gob-smacked that our host even allowed your original comment

            >
            I am gobsmacked he didn’t and edited the part that said what the Anglican Westminster confession reveals.

  50. Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    We aren’t going to see a penny extra for at least two years as that’s the time it will take to extricate ourselves from the EU budget.

    While I would not be against a modest referendum “bribe”, as well as financing a new British Fishing fleet, as I’ve suggested above, there must be other areas where some of the money could be spent with advantage in the early years after Brexit.

    Like a new fishing fleet, for maximum effect the expenditure would need to demonstrate to the electorate restrictions that we have suffered from membership and the positive advantages of leaving. Any suggestions ?

  51. Edward M
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    We are running a large deficit, so at least half of the saved money should be used to reduce the deficit (hopefully to zero in the near future, and then start paying off the debt).
    Some of the saved money will need to be spent on something sensible (eg. small tax reduction, more road and rail projects) that benefits the entire population to show there is a gain by leaving the EU.
    Some money will be needed for increased border protection forces and to revamp the coastguard service that the coalition government ran down (and illegal immigrants need to be immediately sent back from where they came, and benefit’s policy changed to not attract immigrants).
    More money for the NHS is always popular – though whether it’d have any observable effect is uncertain – a better policy would be to return the NHS to being a national and not an international health service as a way to improve outcomes for British nationals – all this can be done with Brexit if we have a willing government – but from the tone of his recent comments, probably not one led by David Cameron.
    Perhaps George Osborne could ease his financial clampdown on pensions.
    And a slight increase in the defence budget – given the state of the world – though that would better come out of the overseas aid budget.

  52. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    If this money were to be shared out amongst the population for the first year, it should be done in such a way that we can only spend it on British goods. That would also boost our economy and some of our industries.

  53. Edward2
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Offer tax cuts.
    They are always popular and they focus voters minds on how much they are paying for the EU.
    A reduction in VAT could be good as it is a tax everyone pays.

  54. Maureen Turner
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    HS2 – £ 53 bn. to reduce journey time by 35 mins. for a train with few stopping places and expensive tickets plus carving it through beautiful countryside. Cut

    In-work tax credits. Taxpayer subsiding wages for the benefit of businesses who can’t or won’t pay a decent wage – Cut.

    Immigration. Close borders until a sensible way of control can be considered and then put in place.

    Green energy. Stop hiking energy costs on the basis of an unproven science. Cut.

    The NHS. This is something that has to be given considerable thought but in the meantime until the new government is settled in keep it adequately funded. Only this week a senior professor of medicine stated that it could go under due to the number of migrants needing medical attention. IMHO there are two clinchers for this referendum and they are the above.

    Any monies left should go to reducing the deficit.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      @Maureen Turner; “for a train with few stopping places and expensive tickets plus carving it through beautiful countryside.”

      Whilst I am opposed to HS2 on technical grounds I am just thankful that NIMBYs like you were not around in the Victorian railway building age [1], all railways (as well as road and canals) once or still do pass through beautiful countryside!

      [1] or a future revival age of reopening Beeching era closed lines

      “until the new government is settled in keep it adequately funded”

      Err! Whose called an election, I though we are going to have a referendum, if we remain in or leave the EU the same government will be in power (remember that Fixed Term Parliament Act?) -heck there is no certainly that there will even be a reshuffle come a Brexit.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 14, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        So you are against HS2 Jerry, just as Maureen is, yet you still stop by and post criticism of her views. Which are effectively the same as yours.
        Weird.
        And you misinterpreted the point about the NHS.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          @Edward; What do you not understand, I am not against the fact that HS2 will/would have run “through beautiful countryside”, I just see no need for HS2, on the other hand if HS2 was in fact a slow(er) speed north-south Bern gauge freight route I would be hell bent on backing it (together with the east-west links). Thus our opposition is fundamentally different, as you would understand if you actually understood anything about railway engineering. Perhaps the reference to reopening of closed, and now often once again beautiful countryside, railway lines was to subtle for you?

          Oh and what did I say about the NHS, @Maureen talked about a “new government”, it is very unlikely that there will be a new government until 2020, four years is a long time to leave any current problems hanging like a paper chad – again Edward it is you who has failed to actually understand what others have said.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            As I said you stopped to criticise a post but actually you have the same anti HS2 opinion
            So I found that odd
            On the change of Government I expect it is too subtle for you to see a successful vote to leave the EU bringing about some big changes to the make up of the Cabinet and perhaps a new Prime Minister.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Once again, you obviously did not read the comment to which you have replied, or if you did simple have no understanding of the issues. I am not against “HS2” (a new rail line), I am against what it will be used for, how and why.

            Oh and a change in cabinet (or even PM) is not a change in Government, do get a grip!

            Edward. stop trying to pick silly arguments all the time, our host has better things to do that moderate your nit-picking.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            We could well have an election after Brexit if Cameron resigns and the new leader of the Party might seek a mandate (unlike Gordon Brown).
            With or without an election I don’t agree that it would not be a new Government anyway Jerry
            If the key Cabinet posts were changed and there was a new PM it would effectively be a new Government with a new direction of policies.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            “our host has better things to do than moderate your nit-picking”.
            Says Jerry who posts hundreds of posts per week

          • Jerry
            Posted February 16, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; ..and you don’t?! Considering that most of my comments are often in deference of your silly attempts to slag me off, you stop arguing all the time with what ever I say no mater what the actual facts and I will have no need to defend myself.

            Oh and what do you not understand with regards the Fixed Term Parliament Act, once again you attempt to argue in the facts of the facts. Under your logic even a cabinet reshuffle would count as a “new government”. We as electors do not elect PMs, nor members of the cabinet, we elect a group of people (usually as a party) by way of voting for an individual person, and as such unless that group changes there will be no new government. So unless you are forecasting mass defections, which surely will only occur upon a vote to stay-in?

      • Maureen Turner
        Posted February 14, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Hi – Mr. Fred,

        “I’m just thankfully NIMBY’s like you werent around in the Victorian era”. I’m certainly not against expanding our railway network my main complaint is the cost of HS2 . Where I live we would benefit hugely from reversing the Beeching cuts. The lack of the once popular local network of train travel leaves many isolated when it comes to job opportunities and hence they leave for towns.

        Re hoping for a new government after the EU Ref. I’m more than aware we are not having a GE. I accept a poor joke but it keeps some of us hopeful we might see our Con. Party with a new Leader after the Ref. And the NIMBY bit. I live far far away from the beautiful Chiltrens. I don’t know where you live and I have no wish to know but just for the record – it’s a different country. – Cheers.

  55. turboterrier
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I cannot believe that paying everyone some money is going to do our campaign to leave any good at all. Both sides at the moment are standing on the trap door and making promises of payments to everybody will just put our head in the noose. The stay brigade would love it.

    Some people seem to have noticed the elephant in the room: The national deficit. Surely that has to be addressed.

  56. Posted February 13, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    We are looking for arguments to support Brexit but nobody in the media spotlight has really looked at the effect of migration on our infrastructure let alone discussed it publically.

    If Cameron reduced the net migration figure to the “Tens of Thousands” as he has repeatedly promised, that would mean a net reduction of around 15o,ooo EU migrants every year.

    Reduce those coming from outside the EU by a similar amount and the “housing crisis” would be solved, at a stroke. We are building enough new homes for the current population but are about 125,000-150,000 short of the dwellings needed for the current level of migrants arriving here each year. Why do Politicians repeatedly fail to point this out ? I think we all know why…………………

    Once we are outside the EU we will be free to negotiate bilateral agreements for free healthcare with those countries with a healthcare system as good or better than our own. As for other EU countries, our citizens and theirs would be advised by their respective Governments that private health insurance is essential. As part of the bilateral deal, both countries could agree to pick up the bill for treatment for their own citizens that has not been paid for and they can then recover the costs from their citizens when they return home.

    Repeat the process for the rest of the world and the additional income to the NHS would be substantial. You can be pretty sure that health tourism would end overnight from both within and outside the EU. If Hospitals could keep all the cash they recover they would suddenly become a lot more keen to collect it.

    How much this would reduce pressure on the health system is anyone’s guess but I suspect it would be substantial.

    While we are talking about the NHS, Junior doctors are a topical subject at the moment.

    It’s about time that the taxpayer received an assured return on the enormous sum of £350,000 we are told it costs us to train each Doctor over 7 years. Part of the contract for funding the loans to cover their training should be a minimum period of time working in the NHS of, say, 10 years full time service, with time taken for maternity leave or sabaticals would be added to the period. They would only be free to swan off to work in Australia when they have repaid a substantial proportion of their training costs and agree to continue loan repayments while they are employed abroad.

    Then we have schools.
    330,000 net migrants pa must mean an additional 80-100,000 children arriving each year. At thirty to a class, they will require around 3,000 additional classrooms and teachers, each and every year.

    I simply do not believe that Migrants pay more taxes than are needed to fund all this additional infrastucture.

  57. Mercia
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Can John Kerry be told to stop interfering with our democracy, telling us we will be “safer” in the EU.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 14, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      @Mercia; No, it is called freedom of speech (along with the freedom of the media to report [1]), the Brexit groups job is to counter such argument/statements etc. not censor them!

      [1] careful of what you wish for on that, it is a poisoned chalice, the left or Europhiles could use similar knee-jerk actions against the right/Euroscepitcs if they have the same but opposite fears

      • Edward2
        Posted February 14, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense Jerry
        Democracy means we can tell him to shut up and stop interfering in UK politics.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 14, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; Why not just either ignore him or counter his arguments, telling someone to shut up is just attempted censorship – no better than those old styles union bully-boys of the mass meetings or picket-lines when anyone dared to offer an alternate opinion!

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            Says someone who regularly tells others on here to shut up.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            Jerry obviously not you RB!

          • Jerry
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            @RB; Your (religious) rants, and admitted sock-purgatory, say far more about yourself than they do me.

            @Edward; I do not tell people to “shut up” I ask them, to post a fact lead argument, not just personal assertions.

  58. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    BBC News is full of it. Mr Cameron and Mrs Merkel and hundreds of people in Hamburg dressed up, sat down, supping up,with hundreds of waitresses seeing to their every request and need. Also on the mezzanine or extended balcony a violin, viola, cello, and other stringed instrument ensemble playing music everyone pretended to enjoy.

    A karaoke,pie and pea supper-buffet and “bring a bottle” would have been more appropriate to the grandeur of what was discussed between chomps of pork pie and gulps of homemade peapod wine….to complement the pork pies on beds of of carefully pre-minted peas.
    Mrs Merkel spoke of the commonality between Hamburg and England. No doubt she had in mind the 23 July 1943, RAF firebombing of Hamburg creating a firestorm and what the Luftwaffe did to Coventry on 14 November 1940. Maybe the mini-orchestra in Hamburg was a reminder of the Luftwaffe blitz on Coventry which was code-named Moonlight Sonata ( by Ludwig van Beethoven: a good ole EU name )
    Don’t know what Mr Cameron barked on about. His voice was drowned by din-din munching and slurping of gravy.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 14, 2016 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    I would like to get the UK’s annual fiscal deficit down to 3% and then less PDQ, but not because the EU is telling us to do so. As I recall, the UK’s GDP is about £1.8 trillion, so 3% of that is £54 billion, which is MORE than we should be comfortable with.

    The UK’s long term GDP growth rate is roughly 2% per annum. A non-inflationary deficit would aim to put the relevant amount of extra cash into circulation, some £36 billion.

    Overriding both of these considerations is our accumulated public sector debt of 80% of GDP, which is too high, and the interest that we have to pay on that debt. To get that debt down, we have to contain the fiscal deficit even more – hence George Osborne’s wish for a surplus.

    It may be occuring to many people that the loose fiscal and monetary policies pursued over the last few years – particularly in the US and UK – have done little or nothing to increase our prosperity.

  60. RB
    Posted February 14, 2016 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Is anyone else getting sick and tired of American politicians telling us what to do? Ash Carter is at it now. The same Ash Carter that warned Russia of consequences for its civilians just before a Russian passenger plane blew up.

  61. Posted February 14, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Even more scare tactics in the Sunday Times this morning.

    This time it’s the travel trade with what must be the most ludicrous suggestion yet :

    British tourism at risk from Brexit !

    Now I’m young enough to recall going on holiday by car in Europe before we were a member of the EU. This, of course, was before Schengen and we had to produce our passports but there were advantages : We could, for example, buy petrol coupons for Italy which reduced the cost of fuel dramatically.

    Do the Swiss or the Norwegians have any problems holidaying in the EU ?

    Is there any reason why flights between the UK and anywhere in the EU would increase if we left ? Last time I looked, ( admittedly before the oil price crash ) the airline industry was a cut throat business with wafer thin margins and airlines outdoing each other to offer low fairs. Holiday companies, ditto.

    What utter nonsense !

  62. Martin
    Posted February 14, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Any savings resulting from Brexit should come straight back to the taxpayer. We can spend it much more sensibly than the EU or UK government.

  63. old salt
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    How about normal interest rates for starters allowing savers and the retired to contribute to the economy by spending rather than conserving what little capital is left if any after the basic essentials. That is assuming savers have not already spent all or some of the seed corn needing to dig into capital after all the years of so called austerity with near zero interest rates and now talk of negative rates or confiscation of savings.

    Banks need to pay more reasonable rates for borrowed money which they have had on the cheap for years now. The system is broke if they can’t be profitable on cheap borrowed money to lend onwards.

    So the average interest rate from 1971 to 2016 is stated as 7.81%. The normal rate from 1971 to 2009 when near zero rates would be much higher.

    So as a simple example someone having £10,000 savings could expect £781 interest p.a. whereas now at 0.5% a miserly £50. A drop of 93%. So someone relying on savings interest is rather poleaxed to put it politely.

    Far from encouraging savings spending, as little or no income expected, some people are forced to economise and make best use of what is left thus depriving HMG of tax on the interest, which has dropped by a similar amount, and other what was normal spending which would normally help the economy.

    The money-go-round needs restarting and get off the backs of the long suffering savers being the only ones that had any money to help support the system and at their cost and with nothing in return. The triple lock on pensions does not keep up with the pensioner’s rate of inflation. The state pension being a very small fraction of about a quarter of the average wage. Try living on that.

    Apologies for slightly off topic: Now should someone looking to downsize and buy a smaller property before someone else snaps it up and before selling the existing lived in property they will be lumbered with an additional 3% stamp duty. Not only that if it takes more than 18 months, down from 3 years, to sell which is not unusual here, they will get lumbered with more taxes on top of all the other costs and expenses. All conspiring to restrict mobility, suitability in freeing up under occupied property etc. I guess it will be more convenient and cost effective to stay put there being no relief for those not involved in buy to let if this was the intention. I can get no clarity from my MP despite several emails. I can only assume this is just another stealth tax dressed up as targeting buy to let.

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