Reporting our budget to the EU

Yesterday there was a debate on the UK’s report of its public finances to the EU. Under the EU Treaties the UK has to submit its budgets to the EU, and they examine and comment on our economic management. Under the Treaty the UK is meant to keep its deficit to less than 3% of GDP. The figures sent in this year show the UK hitting that target for the first time since the crisis in 2008-9

Being out of the Euro the EU cannot fine the UK for failing to comply, but the EU does apply moral pressure and will comment on the UK’s financial situation if it wishes. As the government has been seeking to reduce the deficit anyway there has not been tension, but if a government had been elected that wanted to keep the deficit well above Treaty levels there could have been more public tensions.

The UK government felt it had to send a 300 page document to the EU to meet the requirements of the Treaty. This takes the form of sending the relevant parts of the Budget reports, along with a special preface to the figures. The document reproduces some of the interesting materials of the UK publication, including the latest OBR forecasts of population change. Their central forecast assumes net migration of 329,000 in 2025 and 256,000 in 2016, declining to 185,000 in 2021. This is well above the government’s own target for reduced numbers, and of course is based on the assumption of continuing EU membership. They also run a higher migration forecast where it stays above 250,000 for the next five years.

I raised with the Minister several issues. First, I asked why the UK has to go through this process. As the UK has failed to hit the deficit target for an extended period of years, wouldn’t it be better to exempt the UK from this whole process? Clearly our controlling our deficit is not important to the others in the way it is crucial if you belong to the same currency as the neighbours. Shouldn’t the UK’s so called “special status” recognise this?

Second, I raised the issue of population forecasts. What action is the government taking to prove these forecasts wrong, given the stated policy objective to get net migration down to the tens of thousands.

Third, I asked about the increase in expenditure transfers to the EU institutions, where the forecast for 2016-17 has been increased from £10.7bn in November to £11.8bn this March. This increase of £1.1bn is unhelpful, and just happens to be similar to the amount of the annual savings being sought in disability payments in the original budget.

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87 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Well done but did you get anything resembling an answer?

    Despite Cameron’s idiotic claim that it is “not appropriate” to discuss Brexit and improved border security against terrorism, I heard more absurd claims on radio 4, on Newsnight and from Mrs May – that the UK is more secure against terrorism within the EU than outside it.

    Are the people claiming this A extremely stupid or B blatant liars for the remain camp – it is hard to see any other explanations?

    The BBC is able to regularly introduce huge remain bias to these discussion by often having two remainers to one Brexiter. Often done by having a state sector official putting the official state sector line, plus one politician on the remain side and one on the leave side.

    Some even seem to think that we do no have open borders with the EU due to being outside the Schengen Area. Complete tosh they are open to all citizens of the EU.

    The Right Honourable, The Lord Falconer of Thoroton, PC QC was particularly appalling on Newsnight even seeming to think cars are searched on entry to the UK – perhaps on in 100,000 is? Then usually only superficially.

    Also that cooperation over terrorism would not happen efficiently post Brexit? It does not seem very efficient now? He also seemed to think Schengen means we do not have open borders and deportation would not be easier post Brexit. Could he really believe this?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      The other way the BBC get the two to one bias is to have a Tory minister and a Labour shadow minister both remainers and then only one Brexit person. Plus of course the BBC interviewer is nearly always on the “Libdem think” remain side, in favour or more and more open door immigration and all that is EU, as can be seen from the line of questioning.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Searching all cars would be of course just foolish and necessary if it caused any delay which it of course would.
      I mean say all cars had to be searched going from your island or from France to Germany or the worst case being from England to France or France to England.
      This mindless bureaucracy would cause no end of problems for business and tourism.
      It would just be keeping people in absurd and pointless jobs along with any other anti terrorism measures causing massive inconvenience when it is proven that eating blue cheese is more lightly to kill you than an act of terrorism.
      Illegal immigrants are just that and jumping onto the back of a moving lorry will be just as difficult after leaving the EU.
      The answer should be no pointless checks of lorries as the cheese argument Trumps (get it?) the terrorist argument.
      what we need to do is allow freedom of movement but search everyone and stop them at the same time which will be much easier without EU interference.
      We could build a large moat around Britain and install much more security measures such as fences around ports as well as more technology to stop people hiding on lorries as the French want to do nothing to stop terrorists and migrants from coming here.
      Indeedy one could argue they encourage them by harsh laws making them want to leave France.
      We could do the same stopping benefits for illegal migrants and employing them for less than minimum wage allowing them to live here illegally. Like France.
      Less cooperation with the EU, more hassle free searches and more security measures are needed to stop the non threat of terrorism and illegal migrants coming her legally to find highly paid low wage work living ten to a room illegally by landlords who do not allow this as they do not exist and any attempts to stop these non existent landlord employers is mindless interference of business and drag on the economy.
      Only a Brexit can provide all this.

  2. bigneil
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    How can there be any population forecast when CMD ‘s plan to get immigration “down to tens of thousands” have not a shred of truth in them? Cameron and the EU are working to make us a miniscule part in our own country. The incomers will get the vote, and vote in their own. Job done, nation destroyed. Aided and abetted by self serving idiots who want to sit at the Brussels tables.

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    OBR forecasts on net migration are as likely to be as accurate as all their other forecasts. I wonder why they think net migration will reduce by 2021 ? Why should it ? Normally their forecasts show things “getting better” based on government targets at some distant stage in the future which always keeps receding.

  4. Chris S
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Are we to assume here that it is our Net contribution that is to increase by £1.1bn this year ?

    If so it makes Cameron’s claim that he had reduced the EU budget and therefore our contribution in the last budget round.

    How much more are they going to demand over future years ? We have an increasingsly small group of Europwean taxpayers subsidising more than a dozen other EU states internal budgets. Like Poland has done, I suspect they are spending a large proportion of this largesse on vanity projects such as new art galleries and theatres.

    One useful argument for our side of the argument would be to identify and publicise the kind of wasteful projects our money is being spent on that do nothing to contribute to improving the GDP of the recipient countries.

    • Chris S
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Of course I meant to say :

      If so it makes a nonsense of Cameron’s claim that he had reduced the EU budget and therefore our contribution in the last budget round.

  5. alexmews
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    thx John

    some date issues i think in the post above – ie i assume you are speaking of the financial crisis 2007-8 not 2016-17.

    I am listening to Amber Rudd on R4 today. As the Energy Minister her points about EU membership leading to lower prices and more competition in energy seems demonstrably false. She then presented the Climate Change Act as though this could not be changed at any point ether with UK being in or out of the EU. To not look at this and to assume it is written in stone seems a dereliction of her duty as Minister. Finally – she then invoked energy risk to the UK from Russian gas as a reason to Remain – which seems more of an issue for EU than for UK irrespective if we were in or out. Her argument seems to be try and limit the risk to the UK of Russian energy policy – by tying ourselves long term into Russian gas via the EU. Bonkers. In my view she failed to land any points that would satisfy consumer or enterprise energy consumers in UK.

    • stred
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      We are actually more secure than other EU countries, as we have our own gas and can import much of it via Milford Haven. There is no shortage of gas and if Russia decided they did not want the money from gas sales to the EU, we would help to supply them, not the other way round.

      EU policy of increasing electricity interconnectors actually makes us completely insecure in the case of war. The cables to distant offshore wind farms, Iceland, Norway and France could be destroyed by submarine or ship. The large ships bringing vast quantities of wood pellets from the USwould also be vulnerable as would oil tankers. That leaves us with a few old nuclear stations and a small amount from onshore wind, occasionally.

      This interview showed that Amber Rudd is clueless in the area she has been given and she, along with the zealots in DECC need to be replaced.

  6. Mick
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Off topic I see a truck was found to have 25 illegal immigrants in it but wasn’t reported on any tv news channels, I wonder how many more have got through, instead of taking them into custody they should have shut the doors and shipped them back to France, in the wake of what as happened in Paris and Brussels we should be more heavy handed and not pussyfoot around anymore, God forbid if we have a incident in this country the sleeping lion will be awakened and who knows we’re it will end

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

      We cannot deport ‘illegals’ and eventually they will have to be afforded citizenship in the UK. The alternative is that we allow a sub-class to exist and grow. Sooner or later they are going to rise up and demand equality.

      Already the Left are blaming jihadism on the lack of opportunity and equality for young Muslim men. And daily we add more young men who will become disaffected too.

      Their numbers do not feature in any forecast but rest assured they will have to be counted at some point – perhaps after a million man march with a Gandi type figurehead accompanied by George and Amal Clooney.

      Oh well. A civilisation that thinks an adequate response to terrorism is childish pavement chalkings, ‘defiant’ #cartoons, teddies and candles had better stockpile chalk, teddies and candles.

      Such a civilisation does not have the stomach to do what it needs to protect itself and is doomed.

      • DaveM
        Posted March 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Precisely. When we live in a culture that hounds a man to resignation for making a few stupid comments about tennis, how the f*** are we supposed to protect ourselves?

        While I enjoy Mr R’s blogs about all topics and find them educational much of the time, I have to say John, that your post today sums up the issue. The continent is being bombed and the EU is auditing national finances. What the hell?

        What we need is some politicians with balls, not a bunch of self-serving Neros.

        Donald Trump anyone?

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Dave M

          Trump.

          It’s such a shame that we on the right have to resort to shock-jock types to represent us.

          Alas, the quiet ones don’t get heard.

    • stred
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      It was on SE news. Actually, two lorries recently and the firm loses the stock, which is contaminated and there are heavy fines. The migrants were from Iraq, where there are safe areas. Presumably, lorries are not searched in Calais or Dunkerque, there were no customs checks in the car park when we crossed last time. How 20 people could be missed is hard to understand. Don’t drivers open the doors while waiting?

      • Mark
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Even simpler would be to weigh trucks when they are loaded and before they reach the port. Extra weight would identify trucks that needed to be searched.

  7. Hope
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    JR, come on. There is no intention behind the policy to get the huge immigration numbers down. There is no evidence of this, quite the reverse. Laws book makes revealing comments we were being told one thing while Cameron did another. Cameron is now hiding immigration figures, failing to count people in and out the country, not explaining the Disparity between NI numbers issued and estimated net migration figures. It is never emphasized that the govt immigration figures are estimates not actual. There are better counting procedures for sheep and cattle in and out the country! How ridiculous. We are not safe from people entering the country to do us harm or from those within. Islamic extremism is not being addressed seriously at all. Again, sound bites and PR stunts by Cameron. He is trying to tell when we can and cannot comment to suit his pro EU agenda. Read Patrick OFlyn article, Katie Hopkins, Piers Morgan. It is time to tightly ask what are the Muslim community doing to prevent or help detect these atrocities becoming a daily occurrence?

  8. They Work for Us?
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Off topic, a shrill Amber Rudd on the Today programme seemed unable to convince even Justin Webb that her assertion that leaving the EU would result in increased Energy costs because Vladimir Putin (from whom she had to admit we did not buy gas from) might put the screws on EU supplies and we would suffer. Amber Rudd seemed to have mental access to a large database of such assertions, without any evidence to back them up, but with an iron will to keep spouting them.

    I saw the end of the debate in which you spoke. Did the government have any answers to your questions. Thank you for raising them.

    • Mark
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Rudd’s lack of knowledge was alarming given that she is setting energy policy. If we buy gas from Russia (rather than gas that Russia has bought from someone to sell to us), it will be from the Yamal LNG project after it comes on stream, when they will have distress cargoes for sale when the Arctic is frozen over and they can’t reach their customers in the Far East. Our real supply vulnerability on gas is our dependence on LNG from Qatar which comes through the Straits of Hormuz and the route via Suez. Fortunately as other suppliers are coming on stream LNG is becoming an internationally competitive traded market – albeit we would do better still to develop our own shale gas. I note the Horse Hill conventional oil well near Gatwick has had a better than expected production test, which is good news indeed.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Which do think is cheaper gas by pipe from Europe or from as you say vulnerable foreign LNG ships or expensive to produce shale gas?
        Crackpot free market nonsense relying on fire sale gas from distress cargo as if you were buying luxury jewellery and not strategically important commodities essential for the UK and millions of its citizens.
        Rudd makes an important point a point you do not like and are trying to dodge because she supports EU membership as a way of securing supplies. Your points are not secure just plain dangerous Billy Britain nonsense.

        • Mark
          Posted March 25, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          Shale gas is cheap to produce: the US Henry Hub benchmark price is about 18 cents/therm, or 0.5p/kWh, somewhat cheaper than UK gas which is wholesaling for just under 1p/kWh, so UK shale gas would be competitive at twice the cost in the US. It is expected that US shale gas will soon be shipped to the UK as LNG under a contract that BG signed a while back, reducing our reliance on gas from Qatar.

          I do not advocate relying on Yamal LNG – merely pointing out that if we buy it after it comes on stream, it will be because they have to sell it in Europe because of Arctic icing, and we have the LNG terminal capacity to land it. They will not have much alternative, as their specialised ice breaker tankers have to get back to load the next cargo if production is not to be stopped.

          Rudd displays her ignorance rather than making any point at all: for the past 15 years according to Energy Trends data produced by DECC the UK has been a net supplier of gas to the rest of the EU while buying none from Russia, with our net exports to Belgium and Ireland exceeding the small amounts of net imports from the Netherlands (you have to wonder why the Dutch can’t pump directly to neighbouring Belgium instead). That situation is likely to remain because the UK has very substantial capacity to unload LNG, and there is no prospect of a gas surplus on the Continent for them to export to us unless say France decides to develop shale gas and finds a large supply. The mainstay of UK gas imports has been via dedicated pipelines from Norway, which is not an EU member.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      The UK is a large importer of gas from the EU and pressure from Putin could effect supplies. See here.
      http://www.britishgas.co.uk/the-source/our-world-of-energy/energys-grand-journey/where-does-uk-gas-come-from
      Your next argument will be that Russia does not propose a threat to the EU or the UK. As if. Russia gets her money primarily from gas/oil and if they spot a weakness they will use it. Good business especially as they are taking a real hit from low oil prices squeezing the living standards of the average Russian by high taxes prices and various tolls such as new road tolls where there where none.
      Divide all the countries up and change them individually would be ideal. They are in a ‘union’ and unions are bad for employers profits and sellers prices as you well know and so does Amber Rudd.
      Use your brain or at least Google.

  9. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    More evidence that we are serfs to Brussels. Immigration being the cornerstone of Gideons growth forecast.
    Yesterday I received a flyer from BSE which was so full of nonsense it went straight to the recycle bin.
    I hope you are going to counter this insidious document funded by Goldman Sachs.
    I hear the EU is to take control of our Coastguard in yet another power grab.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I bet you didn’t get a straight answer to any of your three questions.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Good questions, to which I could add as supplementaries:

    1. In what way does our international trade with the other EU countries make it necessary for the EU Commission to check the UK government’s national budget before it is presented to the UK Parliament? Do we also provide the same prior information for checking by bodies in all of other our trading partners around the world? For example, do the Australians have some kind of body checking our budget, and the national budgets of all the countries which trade with Australia? If not, why not, if we want to continue to trade with them? And which of our Prime Ministers agreed to this system of external monitoring of our national budget, and why, and why did our Parliament ever approve it?

    2. Why do the OBR projections of net immigration first rise significantly, from 256,000 in 2016 to 329,000 in 2025, and then decline to 185,000 in 2021? Are they anticipating some substantial but relatively brief additional influx, for example when the maximum seven year period for transitional controls on immigration of workers from Croatia ends on June 30th 2020? Or is it anticipated that other poor countries will join the EU and having won the EU referendum in 2016 the UK government won’t even bother with any transitional controls just to placate the UK electorate? And why did Cameron wait until after Croatia had actually joined the EU before threatening to veto any further enlargements of the EU unless there were radical changes to the present system of transitional controls on freedom of movement?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10532152/Ill-veto-new-EU-states-unless-we-deal-with-mass-migration-pledges-David-Cameron.html

    Does anybody really think that if Turkey joined the EU, as Cameron has urged, then seven years would be enough for its economy to grow rapidly and achieve sufficient convergence with the economies of the wealthier member states to avoid mass migration? If so, why do they think that large numbers of Poles are still coming to the UK twelve years after Poland joined the EU in 2004?

  12. Antisthenes
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It puzzles me that if the UK only wants a trading relationship with the EU do not want political and monetary union what business is it of Brussels to know what our fiscal or any other economic policy are. Also why do we have to implement EU laws and regulations to products, services and other matters that have nothing to do with the trade we do with the EU. After all what we sell to the USA we only have to conform to the standards set by the US on goods and services exported to them. They do not ask us to open the books to them either. That in fact would be a gross insult which the EU is guilty of.

    Apart from tariffs and some area in which we want to cooperate with the EU there is absolutely no need to be a member. Even that does not require membership as deals on them can be negotiated by mutual agreement and benefit. It therefore must beg the question why UK stayers and the EU want us to remain in. Is it because their agenda is to see the UK joining political and monetary union. I can think of no other reason.

    It maybe one day we will want the full package although I doubt it as the EU project flies in the face of what is a sound way to be governed. Remain in and the guarantee is we will become part of the super state whether we wish to or not. Leave and that option is not closed the UK can always rejoin later. Leave we have a choice remain we have none.

    • Hope
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      No need to be puzzled. The EU was never about trade it was about creating a superstate. Trade was used to deceive the public and cause fear should we choose to leave. Read FCO paper 30/1048. The deception by both Labour and Tory governments is clear to read. You could ask why didn’t govts keep our sovereignty and all vetoes as we were led to believe? We were told the UK ministers could veto any EU law, directive or regulation. They knowingly made false while giving it away on the QT, assisted by the civil service.

  13. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    It is disgraceful that our accounts as a country have to be checked by unelected self appointed officials in secret.
    It is disgraceful the way the EU regards their own economic and moral targets (Greece, Turkey) with such arrogant disdain.

    But – hey! – let’s stay in, roll over and pretend everything is just wonderful, as Lily Allen once sang.

  14. rick hamilton
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    What beats me is why on earth a British government ever agreed to submit these reports in the first place if we are not in the Euro?

    If the Eurozone was a paragon of economic success we might wish to have their advice. Obviously it is not. I can understand the idea of accepting some control if we are getting something worthwhile in return. But – apart from employing more bureaucrats here to write these reports and there to comment on them – what actual good does it do anybody?

    At least JR you are (probably one of very few MPs) reading these things through and rattling the cages of their authors.

  15. Qubus
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Slightly off-topic, but did anyone hear that appallingly strident female, Amber Rudd, on BBC R4 this morning, trying to tell us why we should stay in the EU? She seemed to think that shouting the interviewer down made her argument. Hats-off to Justin Webb who maintained his calm. If you need anyone to try to convince you that black is white, you know where to look. Incidentally, doesn’t she, according to Christoper Booker, have strong family connections to the green industry?

    • old salt
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Her brother is said to be the public relations executive Roland Rudd. Very much in the news of late.

  16. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I hear no OBR forecast of the economic effects of terrorist attacks. Why? All sides of the UK government have indicated such attacks are highly likely. The warning is “Severe”. So where is the forward planning to encompass them?

    One must not underestimate the tenacity nor the intelligence of the enemy. Irrespective of their education freely available in western culture, one can see it will be some time before Brussels will become first stop for a tour of Europe. Continuing minimal activity will debilitate housing, hotels, travel, administrative and transport facilities.

    Successive UK governments have continued with carrying our economic eggs in one basket; namely, London. The writing was on London walls during the IRA military campaigns.
    What is the OBR assessment of Brussel-like attention by terrorists on London? Has this, behind the scenes, been reported to Brussels? How was the information transferred? Obviously not in someone’s hand luggage. By email attachment?

  17. Qubus
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Another off-topic comment to raise your BP this morning!

    If junior doctors really are planning an all-out strike in the near future, why don’t we do what Ronald Regan did with the Air Traffic Controllers: sack the lot of ’em and make ’em re-apply for their own jobs!

    • David Ashton
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      My response to the junior doctors is: if they want to behave like dockers then treat them like dockers. Turn up in the morning for work, if they are needed give them a job, if not tell them to come back later. I cannot believe how unprofessional they have become.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Dockers do not take five years to train.

        Dockers do not have to spend three years putting together a CV before a medical school will even interview them for a course.

        Dockers do not have to get straight A*s throughout GCSE and A levels.

        Dockers do not carry student debt.

        Dockers do not spend the first five years of their career unpaid.

        Dockers will not be snapped up if they apply for jobs in more appealing countries than this.

        Some of the symptoms in the NHS (and I’m the first to agree that it needs pruning) are down to an age old problem in this country – that our country is unpatriotic.

        Doctors as much as any other worker have suffered because of the “Well if you won’t put up with the pay and conditions we’ll just import people who will.” And so we have a massive population with a dependency on welfarism.

        Countries which don’t think like this are the ones that are doing best. And ours is broke incase you hadn’t noticed.

        • David Ashton
          Posted March 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Full agree with most of what you write. That is why dockers needed unions and threats of strikes to maintain their pay and working conditions.

          Doctors have their immensely transferable skills to advance their careers, and do not need to resort to trade unions and trade union methods to achieve their goals.

          The BMA is highly political and is using the junior doctors for political purposes, essentially to try to achieve a “win” over a government they dislike.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      The problem is with this is that tradesman and especially professionals like doctors are very flexible and might give you a strike you understand. Bye!
      Try this approach next time you need a tradesman to do work in your house. Tell him what the minimum wage is what you are prepared to pay him to carry out the work required, then tell us what you did after he just drove off without saying anything. You would not even get swore at.
      You just worked for any pay under any conditions I take it? “Cheers Guv! Cough! Hack! Any work is appreciated.” There is a reason they became Doctors and its not just money.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Bazman – To become doctors they also had to face fierce competition in getting selected for training.

        Competition that few would understand. This involves years of voluntary work, when most other kids are larking about, to prove commitment.

  18. Bert Young
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    What is the talent level of the bureaucrats in Brussels who receive the 300 page report ,who report on it and then tell us what we can and cannot do ?. During my years of exposure to these people I can say I was never impressed , in fact most of the time it was exasperating .Why we bother to maintain any sort of relationship on a formal basis is beyond me ; many countries fudge their details and concoct all sorts of reasons to extract money from the EU . We know this , so , why go along with it ?

  19. Timaction
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    We have a disingenuous Tory Government subservient to its EU masters. You are just a rebel to them Mr Redwood. Everything you ask is clearly to lie and deceive us. That’s why no one respects the political class any more as we all know it.
    I don’t know how long or how many times people need to be fooled before it becomes clear!

  20. Qubus
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Yet again off-topic.

    Dr Redwood, don’t you think it time that the country had a full-blooded debate about the future of the NHS?

    Wouldn’t this blog be the ideal forum for such a debate?

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Qubus – We can debate the NHS here as much as we like. The People rate its future as one of their top concerns – so sacking doctors will not go down well. And that includes with Tory voters.

      We will go bankrupt before we get your wish.

      In perspective though. Young doctors do not have it easy and are unlikely to afford much in the way of housing in most areas. If the end up doing well in life it will be after a lifetime of good work and extra study.

      Do we begrudge them success ?

      PS, Daily we see programs of Doctors Down Under etc – where British doctors have relocated and earn twice the money in half the time. Are you a lucky ‘boomer’ perchance ? You sound like one.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        “Are you a lucky ‘boomer’ perchance ? You sound like one.”

        Did you manage to buy a house, fund a pension and raise a family with a fairly ordinary job and education ? Even if you didn’t plenty of boomers did.

        The average young doctor won’t be able to do that for quite a while yet. Possibly never in London.

        • Qubus
          Posted March 25, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          #Anonymous

          I thought that would smoke you out!
          No, I am not what you somewhat disparagingly call a “Boomer with a fairly ordinary job and education”. However, I have lectured to medical students for many years, and I am fairly confident that I am better educated and qualified than you are.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Qubus – Clearly your career was well established before the housing crisis started.

            It will be some decades before a medical student will see the benefits of all the study and he will hit 40% tax (and already suffer student debt repayments) at the point that their salary approaches anything like mortgageability.

            I’d advise against the career on these prospects.

            Your gung-ho ‘sack ’em’ solution (8.55) might actually do a lot of them a favour.

            I’m sure that most would find better work elsewhere.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        How can they be on to much here but on twice as much in Australia, but we should be able to employ them for 25K?
        What restrictions will the Tories be installing to stop Doctors resigning and leaving the country after they are sacked and replaced by wannabes.
        They could of course be employed to treat rich people or at least those who have the means to pay.
        There is your future and answer.

  21. oldtimer
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    On the one hand we heard in the budget statement that there will be 1 million new jobs created. This report implies that this demand is to be met by more net migration. Yet advocates of Remain say “jobs will be lost” if the country votes to Leave the EU.

    The question I have is this. If there are so many more new jobs in the pipeline and that many will be filled by immigration, what really is the “lost jobs” penalty if the UK votes Leave? Indeed it could be argued that a sharp reduction in net migration would be beneficial in respect of the easing of pressure on schools, hospitals, housing and social services. The Chancellor has also raised the living wage putting significant pressure on certain sectors. This will undoubtedly slow down recruitment into affected industries, put more pressure on the need to increase productivity and, presumably, to spur investment into more efficient ways to deliver goods and services.

    I am unaware if the OBR, or other forecasters in this field, has done the sums on job gains and losses as a result of these expected changes and related them to the predictions of net migration you identify above. If they have, do the sums add up? If they have not, then it seems to be a subject worth exploring further. Given the predicted trends, it seems to me that the “lost jobs” argument resulting from voting Leave could be overplayed. But that, of course, is what Project Fear is all about.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Old Timer – If we Remain we are going to need a LOT more than 1 million jobs !

  22. margaret
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I watched the debate and was annoyed at the background noise the house. It was OK when John Bercow was there , but the noise became louder and shows a lack of respect for MP’s views. Bill Cash is well known for making long speeches , but what he says is pertinent . You also had to speak above this background chunnering.

    • Margaret
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      ‘in’ the house…. ‘showed’ a lack of respect; not that anyone is bothered about m correcting my own grammar, however we all have a little pride.

  23. turbo terrier
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Until we get full control of our borders it is all words and a waste of time.

    Today another 50 illegals have managed to get across in the back of lorries.

    They are not going to stop until the penalties are increased and they are sent straight back from whence they came.

    The lorries and their goods should be confiscated and sold on the open market to repay the costs of sending them back. The drivers should be prosecuted and sent down for minimum of 3 years. The transport companies should be setting up cctv in their trailers linked to the cab.

    When the risks outweigh the gains then and only then will the numbers drop.

    This country is too small and does not have the infrastructure to accomodate all these people. Fine if they are screened on the border when they have the proof of their qualifications and abilities and there is a job for them, otherwise you get the Scottish IT fiasco when contractors are laid off for cheaper labour who are not as fully qualified.

  24. formula57
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Your question to the Minister “As the UK has failed to hit the deficit target for an extended period of years, wouldn’t it be better to exempt the UK from this whole process? “ is very sound but an alternative would have been to ask for the same exemption as is granted to France, where zero compliance has been tolerated for years.

    I do acknowledge that on one occasion in the face of Commission uppityness the French Finance Minister had to remind it that “Europe was not a Europe of threats” but I would think even the tarnished Osborne is up to doing that if needs be.

  25. formula57
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    And then there is the fine recent example of Italy’s Renzi who said if the Commission rejected Italy’s budget, it would be resubmitted unrevised immediately. That is how to deal with the Evil Empire! Encourage the Minister to take note.

  26. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    So we are paying the EU an extra 1.1b on top of what we already send. We are never going to make any meaningful savings if this is what is happening every year. Why should we send accounts to the EU? It’s not as if they produce any!! Its a case of you provide it and we’ll spend it but half the time we don’t know what on.

    I see a further 50 illegal immigrants have been found on lorries entering the UK via the tunnel. So much for higher security levels since the atrocities in Brussels. Who are these people that have come in? I expect none have any papers as per usual and how long before they are turfed out if ever? More that will filter into society and be kept by taxpayers. More strain on housing and the NHS. No, I don’t feel safer in the EU and am fed up of this country being abused by all and sundry.

  27. Mark
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I was pleased to see you were among those who voted against that massive waste of money called HS2. Well done!

  28. Atlas
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    John, your questions show what a spineless collection of Ministers and civil Servants we have.

  29. Kenneth
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    In February, the BBC made this political statement:
    “What links Europe and America is the powerlessness of those in power in the face of globalisation or that is how it often appears.”

    The link is here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35524844

    This is complete rubbish.

    We all know what happened. There was no powerlessness. Western governments chose to open their borders to foreigners without asking their own citizens.

    If it had been hard to get in, the immigrants would not have made the journey.

    This was a choice fuelled a few very powerful people in unelected positions.

    It was a deliberate attempt to ram multiculturalism down our throats. There was no lack of power but power in the hands of people who were mostly never elected by anybody and in our case the BBC was the main driver.

    The narrative of “globalisation”, “the world is getting smaller” and so on is a way of furthering the communist/socialist ‘internationalisation’ agenda over the heads of the People and despite the People.

    Although it sounds like a conspiracy I don’t think that is accurate. It is a mindset. The people who further this agenda are quite open about it. Our own civil service is part of this mindset and can be added to the long list of unelected bodies such as mainstream media, the legal profession, charities and the multitude of quangos such as the eu who all wield power but are not democratically accountable.

    This conflict between the People and these unelected socialists is brought into sharp focus by 2 sets of numbers: the elected government aspires to dramatically reduce immigration in line with the wishes of the People while our civil services plans to maintain very high immigration.

    Rather than expose this contradiction, the BBC would rather coach is into believing we must accept it.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      If it had been hard to get in, the immigrants would not have made the journey?
      Like drowning coming from Syria one presumes being easy.
      Difficult to see as the world communication and transport systems and how you intend to maintain fortress Britain. Blaming the BBC for all of this and the politicians letting in cheap labour for companies and jobs they will not be effected by is just stupid. As I put to you before what of the many other news sourced reporting things you do not like in a way you do not like? The licence fee is not a good enough answer. The commercial stations are then in the pocket of advertisers something you do not recognise. etc ed

  30. iain gill
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    come on John, you know, I know, the whole world knows, that “stated policy objective to get net migration down to the tens of thousands” is simply a lie to try and win elections which nobody in power has any intention of implementing.

  31. Nig L
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Please do not leave us in suspense what answers did you get

  32. Lifelogic
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  33. Bob
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Heard you on LBC this morning John, arguing against a one of Dave’s “project fear” reps, who as usual was allowed the first and last word re Amber Rudds latest scare story.

    I suspect that the volume of public service announcement business given to commercial radio stations buys influence.

    Also, saw this response from one of your old colleagues Roger Helmer
    Amber Rudd’s facile analysis fails to grasp energy economics.

    Far from producing cheap electricity, the EU has done the opposite with some of the highest costs worldwide, relying on expensive renewables. Free from the EU’s energy rules and regulations we can offer lower cost coal and gas and reduce the reliance on these expensive renewables.

    As the EU’s former commissioner for industry, Antonio Tajani said, EU energy prices are creating an industrial massacre in industries, such as aluminium and steel.

    Amber Rudd’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’ policies seems to indicate expensive means cheap and cheap means expensive!”

  34. Peter Davies
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    The fact our government does this proves beyond doubt that successive governments have allowed UK to be subjugated. My question would be far more blunt

  35. stred
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    You could have asked why the OBR does not use the much higher NI and tax figures, which HMRC has refused to release. 659k? These people are living here but go back home occasionaly. They need housing, health, education, earn and spend here and should be budgetted for. Surely the Treasury can tell Dame Homer to tell them her secret.

  36. stred
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    It seems strange that the EU should wish to check that we are running things properly. The weekly news on Euan Mearns blog gave some interesting news about euro energy policy. Sweden has very low electricity costs at the moment and because of its many nuclear power stations, very low carbon emissions. So they have decided to tax them and the owners are going to close them soon, and will then have expensive wind generation and import very high carbon electricity from coal stations in Poland.

    Then the commissioners have discovered that their plans for converting to biodiesel have gone wrong. It produces 3x as much pollution and the area of trees to be cut down means higher CO2 than ordinary diesel. While in Germany they are going to force everyone to convert their houses to have zero emissions and in the UK Amber Rudd thinks her civil servants are green zealots but will not try to change them and will let them be as zealous as the Germans.

    This morning she was on LBC saying that the EU keeps energy costs down and the National Grid thinks our power costs will go up if we leave. She sounded very silly and I fely sorry for her having to go on the radio and make such a fool of herself.

  37. Margaret
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Off topic , but very important issues being spoken about by Mary Creagh in the house. She is talking about witnesses turning up in court and these can be key witnesses who facilitated the court process initially. If they do not give their evidence then the people who are guilty get away with it.
    Justice for victims can often be turned around so that the victim becomes the accused . These processes must be more carefully analysed.

    She also talks about patronising court representatives .An example of this is a women who asked me if I had any experience of a particular aspect of Nursing which I had practised for 36 years and specialised in for an exam and compared me to a newly qualified Dr who between an original claim and the time in years it took to get to a hearing learnt about the problem, but was suprised that I had any knowledge at all.

  38. James Matthews
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat, but not entirely, off topic another BSE leaflet hit my doormat today.
    It invites houdeholders to read “The facts about Europe”. Inside are the usual selection of quarter truths, misdirections, selective quotations, casuistries and unsupported speculation, including the utterly discredited scare story from the AA of a nineteen pence rise in petrol prices and the frankly fantastical claim that the EU give us lower retail prices.

    Our host is doing an excellent and essential job of detailed forensic examination of the issues, but only a minority will read his work, think about it, or bother to understand it. BSE propaganda needs to be countered with equally eye catching, but preferably truthful, headlines. Thus far, however, I have had nothing at all from any of the leave campaigns. Perhaps the are keeping their powder dry. I hope they are not leaving it too late to ignite.

    • Jagman84
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      I finally had correspondence from Leave.EU. It was mainly a begging letter and offering ‘official merchandise’. I consider them to be an establishment spoiler group with their double vote strategy. The numerous BSE leaflets have been re-cycled after a brief perusal. Lies are lies, however many times you deliver them. My vote is all that matters and that’s for Brexit.

      • James Matthews
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        ” Lies are lies, however many times you deliver them.”

        Absolutely right, but repeat them often enough to people who do not know they are lies, do not scrutinise them, and do not read, see, or hear any contradiction, and enough of voters will believe them to swing a referendum.

        My vote for Brexit has never been in doubt, but many votes are.

  39. John Bracewell
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I watched the part of this debate on TV and yourself snd Sir Bill Cash asked many pertinent questions which the minister who was supposed to reply for the government said one sentence about each of your contributions without addressing a single question. It was an arrogant and useless performance by that minister since I was looking for answers to each of the questions the pair of you asked and there were none.

  40. getahead
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Your dates in the first para. and then in the third para. seem to incorrect John. Perhaps the right year but the wrong decade.

  41. getahead
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I should add that your editorials are much appreciated. Always to the point. Thank you.

  42. bill
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I am utterly amazed that we have to submit our figures to the EU when we are not members of the Eurozone. Has this requirement been widely reported in the press? No. Has it been reported by the BBC ever? Not as far as I know.

  43. acorn
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    “Boris Swims Against Tide of ‘Brexit’ … As Britain ponders its future in the European Union, investors are betting an amount almost the size of Iceland’s economy on the pound falling to levels last seen in the 1980s. At least 11 billion pounds ($15.5 billion) has been wagered this year on options that would profit if sterling fell to or below $1.3502, a 4 percent drop from current levels, after the June 23 referendum.” (Bloomberg Business).

    These are not “investors”, they are “punters” in the biggest Bookmaker shop on the planet; the Spiv City of London, the ultimate Casino. It is nice to know we are all in this together.

    • Mark
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Banks will do very nicely if the options expire worthless. The agenda of stoking up fear is giving them a nice little earner, bidding up the cost of insurance for exchange risk.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Even if it happened a 4 percent drop of the pound from its current level against the dollar wouldn’t exactly be earth-shattering, would it? Do you think it sounds a lot worse if you say “falling the levels last seen in the 1980’s”? Well, that did actually happen in early 1993, and again in the summer of 2001, and yet again in early 2009, and yet we’re still here and still prospering, sort of:

  44. They Work for Us?
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I also received a leaflet called the Facts about Europe from the Remain camp this morning. I looked up their website to get a contact address to return it to (minus stamp of course) and urge everyone to do the same.

    • James Matthews
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      An inspired suggestion. Thank you.

  45. Anonymous
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Reply to reply – “I also do not wish to publish sentiments which can set communities and groups against each other”

    And there is our biggest problem.

    We have created ‘communities’ and ‘groups’ and fragmented our nation.

    ‘Community’ has become a euphemism for division. ‘Diversity’ is a euphemism for division too.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    While most people are nervous about being killed by suicide bombers the Leftist authorities assume their usual posture: holding back the demented right wing backlash.

    Contrast Britain with the right wing uprising on the Continent. The BNP destroyed and only one UKIP MP – racists that we are !

  47. Excalibur
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, agricola. I asked yesterday who had issued the EAW in respect of the parents who took their child abroad for treatment ? I suggested it was an absolute abuse of power. JR decided not to publish. Well that’s his prerogative…(words left out)

    Reply I did not see the evidence for some of the allegations made

  48. agricola
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Delighted to see that Etc. Ed. has a sense of humour. At one time we could exchange our Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman Jokes with impunity and relaxed banter all round. Now we live in a very false situation where it is illegal to joke about such differences. Etc ed

    While sharing your wish not to set communities against each other, we have done it by ignoring reality, and not facing up to the fact that by design or omission we have created or allowed these divisions ourselves. Community and Diversity have become euphemisms for (placed ed)within which (a different culture ed)is allowed to flourish with little dilution from the host community. I could elaborate in detail , but it is not necessary for those who observe. Until we face up to the results of this failed experiment, it’s downside will continue to blight life in the UK and Europe.

  49. ian
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    You the people of this country are being ask by the globalist elite, UN, NATO, IMF, WORLD BANK, POPE, all institution and USA, EU, and your own GOVERNMENT to surrender and abandon your BORDERS, NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, and your WESTERN CULTURE.

    The EU has already drawn up plans to takeover your ARM FORCES, SECRET SEVICES, and POLICE FORCE, and to be controlled from BUSSELS.

    All this is coming about because of GLOBALIST ELITE who have wage war in the middle east and created terrorist and refugee crisis which they are sending your way, you will have no control over who comes in to the country because that will be control by UN REFUGEE COUNCIL and the new EU REFUGEE COUNCIL which is already telling country how many they should take in.

    They will take over your TAXES and spend them as they see fit and with TTIP the GLOBALIST ELITE COMPANIES will sue your country and of cos pay no TAX.

    Your rights will be stripped away under the destabilization of your country by terrorism and TERRORISM acts of LAW.

    All your service will go down with the number of people order to come hear by the UN and EU, if you think housing is bad now think again as the rents go up and more English people hit the streets as refugees are rehoused by the UN and EU with rent paid by your taxes from BUSSELS.
    and the over load of (migrants ed) come into your country sent by the UN and EU.

  50. ian
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I mean BRUSSELS

    • Bazman
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Thats that cleared up then. I’ve ordered extra supplies of tin foil.

  51. agricola
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I note that all my contributions to this piece have disappeared. Is this a case of report to the headmasters study.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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