Official figures for the UK contributions to the EU

The official HMT and OBR figures for 2016 shows the following

Total gross contributions       £23.148 billion    (£445m a week)

Gross contributions less rebate    £17.865 bn    (£343 m a week)

Gross contribution less rebate and monies paid back to the UK  through EU programmes    £11.73bn  (£225 m a week)


The gross contributions are made up from

Customs revenues      £3.347bn

VAT EU share   £3.647bn

GNI levy           £16.154bn

We need some new estimates of what customs levies would bring in were we to opt for the WTO model. Indicative figures are that the UK would levy £12bn on EU imports into the UK. This money would be available to give back to UK consumers as tax cuts and benefit increases, so customers were not worse off if they wished to continue to buy so much EU product.  The EU would levy £5bn on UK exports to the EU, which would still leave our products more competitive than two years ago before the rise of the Euro.


The WTO model the big attraction of no so called divorce bill.



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  1. Andy
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Sigh. Again you completely miss the point.

    Tariffs are all but irrelevant. Yes – you read that right. Tariffs are all but irrelevant. The only people who mention them have zero understanding of trade.

    We slap a 10% tariff on their stuff, they slap a 10% tariff on ours – prices rise by 10%. Shock.

    No. The real reason Brexit is terrible is COMPLIANCE. Compliance – NOT tariffs.

    At the moment a product made in Liverpool can be sold in Lisbon, or Leipzig, or Ljubljana without further paperwork because we have the SAME product rules. Yes, that’s right.

    Those EU laws you all loathe do terrible things – like banning manufacturers of children’s toys from painting those toys with leaded paints. Or making sure those toys have screw down battery compartments. The sort of sensible rules which keep kids safe – yes, these are the EU rules you all rage against.

    One Brexiteer genuinely cheered the end of EU regulation as it meant farmers could use cheaper fertiliser! They didn’t shout quite so loudly about the bit that said the cheaper fertiliser had been found, in some studies, to cause cancers. Yay! Brexit lets us harm our kids and give each other cancer!!!

    So – you all hate EU rules without knowing what EU rules are even for.

    To be clear – your schools are failing because of MPs in Westminster. Ditto hospitals. You sit in traffic jams because of Westminster. Ditto dirty, later trains. Your kids can not afford a house because of failures in Westminster. All the stuff which matters to you – Westminster is to blame. It’s almost as if the MPs spend most of their time fiddling expenses and groping each other rather than fixing our problems.

    Oh. And you could all do with a lesson in the difference between cost and value. Just because something is expensenit does not mean it it is not worth it. We pay a lot to the EU – but the value we get back is worth more than our contribution. Rich people get rich by understanding this difference. Poor people stay poor by not understanding it.

    So, to conclude: tariffs = irrelevant. EU product regulation = good. MPs = groping, expense cheats (this is bad). Cost and value = not the same.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Just a reminder that these arguments were made during before the referendum, and with ample assistance provided at public expense, but your side still lost. Maybe it was something in your style that caused people to disbelieve you.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        An excellent, irrelevant piece of comment. While “Andy” is completely plausible.

    • zorro
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense – tariffs are very relevant to families as food/clothes are far more expensive than they need to be because of the protectionist CET courtesy of the EU. This affects all of us adversely. We have also stated repeatedly that the EU Withdrawal Bill will virtually transfer all relevant EU legislation into UK law. It will then, as necessary, be rightfully reviewed by the HoC and repealed/improved as appropriate…


      • hans chr iversen
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        the assumption on the food is not necessarily the case, we will have to wait and see, if we start producing it ourselves it might become even more expensive?

        • zorro
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          We could of course buy food far cheaper from the RoW i.e. 85% of economic activity not undertaken in the EU. They do grow very good, plentiful and cheap food outiside of the EU, I have actually tasted it. We can also grow in the UK but I doubt people will set themselves up to fail by doing so and charging high prices when alternatives exist. We will not be the EU after all! An example at times of economic self flagellation if ever there was one!


        • libertarian
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink


          The EU has spent the last 40 years preventing Africa and other regions of the world selling us cheaper, good quality food in order to protect lazy French farmers. Thats going to end

    • getahead
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure who is receiving the value of which you speak. It is certainly not the poor people, the taxpayers, who have to make the EU contributions.
      No, to most people the EU is not worth it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      What ? So lead in paint is going to return ? The Duracell Bunny is going to have no battery compartment screw ?

      By what measure are violent EU criminals free to live here ‘compliant’ and safe ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        …you’d think Britain was a lawless state before it joined the Common Market going by Andy’s comment.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          No, it was not but it was far less affluent before we joined.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink


            Everywhere was far less affluent 40 years ago….

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Apologies if I seem a little idealist, but why can’t we do these things ourselves? Are you saying we’re so totally incompetent that we can’t make our own sensible rules, which might even be better than those from Brussels? If I want to work 45 hours a week, why shouldn’t I? Do I need somebody from the other side of the Channel to tell me it’s bad for me? Ditto all those wonderful other rules which only Continentals are intelligent enough to devise according to you.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        this is not what Andy said they were just very sensible suggestions on what we have gotten out of it as well, nothing more or less

        • libertarian
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


          No it wasn’t it was an ignorant rant that was mostly either plain wrong or deluded thinking

    • Jagman84
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      As the Great Repeal Bill will transfer over all EU law into UK law, I would assume that such matters of ‘compliance’ will be included. Hence, your whole post is “irrelevant”!

    • NickC
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Andy, We export about 50% more to the rest of the world than we do to the EU. We have to comply with the standards in all those export markets too. Clearly our exporters know what they are doing. Compliance with local standards is not the massive issue you make it out to be.

      In our domestic market we are perfectly capable of setting our own high standards for importers to comply with. We don’t need the EU for our product standards. Many of these standards are international anyway (ie not originated by the EU). Indeed, most of the EU legislation is not about product standards or even safety standards.

      Sigh. It seems to me that you completely miss the point. We don’t want to be just the English speaking area of the EU empire. We don’t want to be ruled from Brussels. We don’t want to keep paying extortionate net contributions. We don’t want uncontrolled EU migration. We don’t want 9 unelected “presidents”. We don’t want 90% of the EU politicians who control us not elected by our demos. We want to be able to vote out any government we have. We want to be finally free of the corrupt, malign, dysfunctional, anti-democratic EU.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Mrs May needs to step up and answer you Andy.
      She needs to show her strength that she promised us.
      She needs to show her stability.
      Not to those in the EU but to the public that elected her as a strong and stable leader.

      The EU acts like a group of demicogs, with Junker, Schulz and Verhofstadt unwilling to listen to the MEPs we elected or our previous Prime Minister when they were telling them we were struggling with over-population, finding housing for all those that wanted to come or those that found free passage with the ease of registering with our neighbours. Our benefits system (tax credits, child tax credits and disability benefits) all getting overwhelmed and our NHS becoming a free EU health service when we are encouraged to take on private travel insurance for decent care when we go on holiday in Europe.

      It is time quieter, gentler female voices spoke out against all of this angst and divisions being encouraged by our BBC and press. We are globalists not tribal, we want freedom not the EUs constant bailouts for a Euro we never believed in. We don’t want to keep borrowing trillions to prop up the rest of Europe when we’re told we have to retire at 70 now, oh and there won’t be social care soon because we’re spent up.

    • rose
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      How do you feel about the EU compelling us to have a vet in every abattoir? Our vets take 7 years to train and are therefore very expensive, unlike the Spanish ones which take only a year, so our little abattoirs had to shut. When a foot and mouth outbreak started, as had happened in the past, animals now had to be transported a very long way, spreading the disease like wildfire. You may not have noticed the horrifying burning pyres across the country at the time as a lot of townies didn’t.

      Then there is the insistence by the EU on live export of animals, causing untold suffering. I will spare you the details. When we come out we will at last be able to ban the live export of animals destined for slaughter.

      On a lesser matter, the EU insists on regulation bathroom lights being screwed to ceilings, behind covers. No matter how high the ceiling or how big the room. This means some people risk breaking their necks each time they have to change a light bulb. It probably makes sense in a tiny flat in Dusseldorf.

      Then there is the brilliant directive which says everything which can be mechanised must be. So lots of noise and pollution, and minimal exercise. This is in conflict with the other directive which says there must not be any unnecessary noise.

      These rules and many more like them, are applied indiscriminately across an entire continent. When we come out, we shall be able to choose our own, according to our own circumstances.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Rose, why on earth didn’t we just train one-year abattoir vet specialists with the equivalent qualifications required in Spain?

        • rose
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          I can only guess: probably because we are the only country which keeps these 20,000 unscrutinised rules to the letter. Other countries either ignore them or get round them.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink


          Because we value animals, and animal husbandry, and food preperation to a far higher standard than our other EU “partners”

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 24, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            Good point libertarian, this should have been hammered home to our population about buying British meat if we had much higher standards, seems the public don’t ask if they’ve all gone out of business to cheaper imports.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget the Uk had it’s own well respected BS kitemarks that ensured that things like childrens toys were safe. The Grenfell tower inferno would not have happened if the cladding was specified to withstand the British ‘systems test’ rather than the Eu materials test. ‘Cheap fertiliser’ may not be a good idea but atleast we will be able to decide what is appropriate for the Uk market.
      One size fits all regulations are no guarantee of safety – what may work in southern Spain will not work in London.

    • Prigger
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      “You sit in traffic jams because of Westminster.” Nonsense! it is the fault of Brexit and the moon entering into Aquarius

    • Len Grinds
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Let me give credit to Mr Redwood for agreeing to post this. It does, convincingly, destroy every shred of Mr Redwood’s case for Brexit!

      • stred
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        He is right about schools failing because of Westminster. How else can we explain the level of ignorance of contributors of his age, who do not seem to know that we already comply with EU regulations and even gold plate them. Also that we are taking all these into British law and will be able to sell compliant goods into the EU under WTO rules, like countries outside already do. If we choose to be able to sell half power vacuum cleaners we can change the rules but still sell useless machines in the EU.

        This will, unfortunately, be in one Remoaner’s ear and out of the other. As he says, in 10 years he will be free to vote to join Junker’s army,use the Euro and join the many EU unemployed.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

          I think local councils are responsible too.

          The primary school near me that was failing for the past twenty seven years had the smallest of class sizes, around 16. The new conservative Governor is making such a difference and I’ve noticed. He is consistently tweeting about improvements they’re making. He is a great local councillor compared to the Labour/Lib Dem lot, I see him organising rubbish collection teams, he always responds to communication when the others ignore it.

          When student tuition fees were trebled for Higher education in England I think many people forgot that a pupil premium was introduced at the same time by the coalition government.

      • eeyore
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        You’re easily convinced, Len. No wonder you’re pro EU.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          eeyeore, I am sure you can do better than this sort of level of argument, can’t you?

      • Bognor Regis
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think you should give Mr Redwood credit for posting it.Except in the first circle of free-speech. It is nonsense after all.The pudding will be woofed back 29th March 2019

    • David Cockburn
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      What a patronising post. It’s as if we were unable to govern ourselves successfully for 200 years before we joined the EU.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        But it is distinctly possible that our ability to do so has atrophied considerably as a result of being in the EU for at least two generations.

    • robert lewy
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      You pick an unfortunate example with Toy Safety.
      Toy safety regulations in UK started in 1960’s.
      UK standard BS5665 preceded EN71 which incorporated it to cover the most significant areas of risk.

    • Mick von Mushroom
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      ” these are the EU rules you all rage against.” Given the EU was in charge of making rules and laws, why do you assume we would not have made laws and rules of equal value? Oh yes, it is that Europeans are better at Health and Safety because of historic reasons they were not! Try adopting the British flag.You may be refused adoption rights! WE are picky.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Andy you have never run a manufacturing company that exports.
      Well I have.
      UK companies have to meet the requirements of every nation they export onto.
      They vary.
      UK exporters have been complying for decades.
      They will continue to comply.
      Otherwise their goods will not be accepted.
      But they always are.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Pse be gentle with Andy.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      “At the moment a product made in Liverpool can be sold in Lisbon, or Leipzig, or Ljubljana without further paperwork because we have the SAME product rules. Yes, that’s right.

      Just because a product is made in Liverpool doesn’t mean it can be sold in the EU without being certified as being compliant with current EU regulations. The testing and certification required is the same as ANY product would need regardless of where it was manufactured. That will not change after 29th March 2019

      As time goes on and more regulations get introduced by the EU (& the UK) we may or may not decide to adopt those regulations locally if they are deemed relevant to our market.

      A typical example of bad EU product regulation, was the banning of vacuum cleaners based on their power consumption alone. If you are going to do that then it should have been a minimum efficiency requirement…

    • Martin
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I agree compliance is important but I am afraid you miss the point here also. The factory I work in produecs gas appliances for the global market. For the EU we make a product compliant to EU rules, for North America it must be compliant to US regs and for Australia it must meet the demands of the AGA (Australian Gas Association). For the Chinese market (and I think these guys are very smart) they accept EU, US or AGA products. In simple terms from our one factory we build products to suit the market they go to, why do we do this, its because thats the market needs. When we leave the EU we wont do anything differently we will still build to their standards and be 100% compliant. China is not in the EU but builds to EU standards so there exports are allowed here – I am all for compliance but you dont have to be in the EU to build to EU compliance.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      “The real reason Brexit is terrible is COMPLIANCE. Compliance – NOT tariffs”

      Close but not quite accurate. Third countries, as we will soon become, have to be seen to comply and that requires inspection. It is the need for inspection that will kill trade with the EU stone dead if we leave without a deal as is now looking inevitable.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,
    Thank you, very useful data. One hopes that the calculations are being done to decide on balance as to which option of separation makes most commercial sense.
    Germany is desperate for our money; without our contribution she will have to pick up the majority of the EU budget shortfall, which no doubt is politically difficult. Is Mrs Merkel’s political watershed moment and the sudden ‘softer tone’ from Barnier just a coincidence? I think not; Germany needs a deal quickly so that Merkel can look the German people in the face at the next election. Time for our Government to play hardball with the EU bureaucracy.

    • Hope
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Based on EU negotiations to date, what chance would the UK have in negotiating any good deal with any country in the world? Your govt is embarrassing our country.

      US diplomat stating he cannot understand why Great Britain is entertaining this to trade with the EU. Nor does he understand why the EU thinks it can demand this from the UK.

      Note to May: you are useless please leave without a fuss and take your chancellor and HS with you.

      etc ed

      • Hope
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        It does beg the question if idiot May will pay every continent and country the same to trade with it, does it mean we are subject to very rule of law by every country for their citizens and their citizens ave absolute freedom to walk in and out and get the same benefits as every British citizen? If not why not?

        She is striding way ahead of Brown on popularity stakes.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      An entirely possible outcome will be a failure to agree a trade deal because of a failure by the parties to agree money issues. The chance of that happening must be there because of disagreements both within the Conservative party about what it is prepared to offer and within the EU among the 27 + EU parliament all of whom must agree how much and on what terms.

      I am unclear exactly what was agreed in the Cabinet sub committee. Is there any hard information on this? And when will the rest of us, the long suffering taxpayers get a chance to see exactly what is being asked for by the EU and offered by the UK government?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        I am unclear why information about what was agreed in this meeting has been provided to broadcasters before it has been given to the MPs who will have to approve the payments. I seem to remember the Tories criticising Blair and Brown for making important announcements outside Parliament …

      • Hope
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        We voted leave. Not specious claims by remainers hard or soft Leave. We did not vote for an extension, we did not vote to pay to leave or trade. We did not vote to stay within EU rules or regulations. We did not vote for any citizen living in this country to be governed by the ECJ, we did not vote for Charter of a Human Rights still to apply! Note to Grieve you lost the vote get over it. We did not vote for registration scheme to allow freedom of movement.

        We voted to leave so our elected MP make the laws, our courts rule on them and our parliament is sovereign. Only parliament to raise and spend our taxes, not an unaccountable unelected foreign body. If we do not like what our MPs do we vote them out. Savvy?

        The UK cannot obtain a mythical good deal, if it could the other countries would leave!

        You lot imposed a remainer useless PM on us I suggest you get rid of her.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget that the uk would still have to make contributions to make up it’s 0.7% GDP commitment to international development, part of which it now does through the EU.
      The Uk has already committed to billions of pounds of future spending that it is almost impossible to walk away from. Furthermore we would still need to fund farm subsidies and universities once they had been cut of from Eu funding.
      I’m a leaver but the situation is a good deal more complicated than Dr Redwood suggests.

  3. Mark B
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Whilst it is all very nice to look at these figures and think of tax reductions and benefit increases, I believe most of it will be just swallowed up as government spending ie more subsidies for the rich and corporates via the Civil Service. I loath the Gordon Brown term investment, it is so misleading.

    But we keep looking at trade and monies, when what we need to be looking at is governance. That is why for many people like me think remaining under the political shadow of the ECJ is such a betrayal.

    No matter how bad a Labour government may seem many will not vote for a party they can no longer trust. And as the Tories must surely know, if you lose trust it is very hard to win it back.

    • Hope
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I think you mean, What shade of Labour does the electorate want. New Labour May stated in Parliament to Miliband she would build on his policy- the one the Tories labelled Red Ed! She is now brining in his cap on energy prices that the Tories slated.

      No money for the police as it will fall on deaf ears- Amber Rudd last month. Tens of Billions for the EU for nothing in return! This is okay with our chancellor!!

  4. Excalibur
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I am incensed, JR, that there is even consideration of paying the EU 40 billion pounds simply to obtain a trade deal.

    Forty billion pounds, plus 10 billion pounds to the DUP is 50 billion pounds. Add to that the crazy costs of HS2, projected currently at 56 billion pounds; the propping up of an ailing French nuclear industry at Hinkley Point C. with a cost to consumers of about 50 billion pounds; these together with the expenditure on profligate, unverified foreign aid projects, and threats to our EU rebate, all point to a reckless and wasteful use of taxpayers’ money.

    JR, the government needs to get a grip. It seems to me the wrong decisions are taken on virtually every issue. The craven capitulation to the EU damages us as a nation. For God’s sake let’s stand up for ourselves.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Dear Excalibur–You and others write all the time as if JR were in the Government–I agree he should be, but even with Ministers falling like skittles (and mostly Good Riddance) one cannot but help notice that Mrs May ignores him and is supposedly desperate to have Hague as her right hand man–an avowed confused Remainer type and one struggles to understand why. I still believe it is Mrs May who should go and the sooner the better.

    • stred
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It is not ‘capitulation’ for civil servants, pro-EU politicians, academics and big business. They work with and are rewarded by the EU. The EU needs money to expand and so they ‘stand up’ for the EU. They do not consider themselves to be ‘ourselves’.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      But I saw an FT reporter on TV pointing out that the extra £1 billion public spending for Northern Ireland – not for the DUP, but for Northern Ireland – will no more be a waste of public money than any other public spending in Northern Ireland.

    • BartD
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      1 Billion to the DUP.. not 10 Billion

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      The current UK government has expressed this very eloquently last Sunday: “It’s not about demands, it’s about what is properly due from the UK to the European Union under international law in accordance with the European treaties. “And we have always been clear it won’t be easy to work out that number but, whatever is due, we will pay. We are a nation that honours our debts.”

      Continental media expect this sum to amount to about 60 billion, even though UK media have mentioned 100 billion as the continent’s demand, which I’ve not seen mentioned over here.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        We want to play fair. Does the EU ?

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

          @Anonymous: I think that the EU actually wants fair play, as it would need that too among the 27. That is why a Dutch competition commissioner (in the past) handed out very heavy penalties on some Dutch firms for cartel practices. That is why the EU27 dreads a post-brexit Britain if it were to turn itself into a tax-haven. In my view the negotiations should just be about the calculation rules to be applied (translate “Florence” into the nitty gritty rules) and stay away from estimating any amounts like the media do.

          Reply I think they are trying to agree calculation rules, but when there is no legal base for any extra payments it is difficult to see what the UK could agree to. The often mentioned £20 bn figure from the Florence speech was clearly not in the speech. I guess it comes from people thinking that if the UK sought and obtained a two year transition period it might then continue with another two years of contributions, covering the last budget years of the present 7 year cycle. Ministers might still need to legislate to approve such spending if they did want to do that. Were rules to be agreed then of course the side that thought it had the best of the agreement would be likely to put a number on it.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply:
            It seems to me that this Florence speech went a lot further than sticking to a “legal basis” only (which might have led to some international arbitration or court case), it clearly moved into the moral domain. It should not be impossible to agree calculation rules within that domain and find out later what this amounts to,

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        Pvl doesn’t this just confirm just how much our politicians have been agreeing behind our backs, agreements for Eu pensions when they’re telling their own pensioners they have to retire later and because of universal credit people that haven’t paid in get the same amount as those paying in lots over there now 50 year + career.

        We are constantly lied to. Who told us we were propping up a Euro Bank and they’re now saying we can’t get that back – well net what we owe the EU against what the EU owes us.

        Brussels and Luxembourg are very generous to themselves with their high paying jobs, high living pensioners and all sorts of agencies drafting all sorts of protective legislation for farmers in France or manufacturers in Germany or pig farmers!

        Lies, lies, lies. We were never told how much we were in hock to the EU for, so if you have the accounts properly audited as you’ve claimed to us in the past then lay it all out for us, otherwise people are going to get just a bit angry, especially if Phil comes to us tomorrow with lots more taxes to pay out to EU.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          @a-tracy: My view is that the average UK politician has lacked interest in the EU, has always known more about say Australia than the EU. How could I explain otherwise that ministers thought that separate trade deals with individual EU countries were possible? That the first trip after 29 March 2017 would be to Berlin? How could some state that a trade deal with the EU would be the “easiest in human history”. Our Jeroen Dijsselbloem once had to comment that a UK minister was “saying things that are intellectually impossible, politically unavailable”. It doesn’t stop at politicians: the presenter of BBC’s “Daily Politics” confessed not to know what a “posted workers directive” was, when it was first raised at your PMQ! This directive which caused unfair wage competition by workers from Central Europe had already been a huge issue for years in the Netherlands and other countries (presumably also in the UK, at least among UK workers losing their jobs)!
          The UK going for an Anglosphere future, fine with me, but this ignorance about many facets of the current arrangements surprises an ordinary layman like me.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink


            Your confusion about individual dealings is obviously down to your lack of real world awareness. The EU isn’t yet a Federal Nation it is supposed to be made up of 28 individual countries that come together to form a trading block. If you knew the first thing about trade you would know that the failure to conclude trade deals between the EU, Australia, USA, Canada etc is because not all 28 countries can agree. Therefore the UK government speaking individually to the other 27 governments is ENTIRELY the correct way to proceed. The tired old talentless knackered pale, stale failed bureaucrats who run the EU couldn’t negotiate their way out of a pub at closing time .

            I’m afraid once again its you that are ignorant PvL. Posted workers ruling is really an issue in France and certain Eastern European countries. You see Peter in the UK we have far more actual real workers rights than most of the rest of the EU. A Posted worker be they an EU worker or a Tier2 employer sponsored worker from rest of the world actually have full employment rights protection under UK employment laws so its not much of an issue here. Actually its not an issue in the EU as it affects less than 1% of the labour force. Posted Worker Directive isn’t about wages its about workers rights whilst working in another country …. We dont have a problem with UK workers losing jobs, this isn’t Greece or France our unemployment rate is 4.2% and we have 751,000 unfilled full time jobs currently

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            It’s quite straight forward too many of our MPs have covered up the true intentions and concept of a single federal Europe with a puppet parliament making us think we had a voice and say. Now we’re finding out the true costs and £8bn a year is just a drop in the ocean of what they actually signed up to.

            We’re told the rest of the EU is growing really well now, much better than we are, you’re all more productive than us, you’ve all recovered better from the financial crisis than us, we’re doing shit, we’re all be bankrupt soon etc. so why all the trouble? The EU want us to pay in for the next few years and play the game but in the next breath they say we’re not going to get our agreed share out, you’re a reasonable man you know that’s not right, do you think it’s legal for the EU to make these threats and remove the share that we’re paying for?

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            Your term “puppet” parliament might be under estimating its power. Even the UK parliament doesn’t have its co-decision power. Being distant as a nonetheless directly elected body doesn’t mean powerless, far from it.

            That the rest of the EU is growing well might be related but might also be by chance (where we are in the economic cycle). Of course I don’t mind the recent 3.3% Dutch growth.
            It will be very much in the Netherlands’ interest that the post-brexit UK blossoms, as we expect to continue exporting to you. The only threats I know are media stories. Try and see/listen directly to the main actors (Barnier, Davis, continental heads of government) which you can find e.g. via the eu-newsroom. I have yet to hear about threats or punishment, even though the EU27 now promotes its own interest. Getting an orderly exit and a close relationship thereafter remains strongly a EU27 priority, as far as I can see. I’m pretty sure that EIB issues and rebate issues will be solved, and also that ECJ jurisdiction will ultimately be left by the UK in order to become equal partners. There is maybe still a little postering going on right now.

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        PvL, The latest figures in the Futurus paper ( based on work by the ICAEW, indicates that the EU will owe the UK a small sum after all the calculations are done.

        The basic fact is the EU cannot justify a demand based merely on a budget, only on committed spending.

        However I don’t expect any payments to be made either way. Whereas the UK honours its debts, I am sorry to say that the EU neither honours its debts, nor its word, nor even its own treaties. So what the EU is demanding is essentially a bribe.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          @NickC: If in the end the EU27 will have to pay the UK, so be it. It is all about agreeing the calculation rules for settling the liabilities.
          The UK could have taken the EU27 to court if it disagreed and some international arbitration may still be found in future. The early UK tactics (go whistling, stoking media indignation) predictably didn’t work.

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

            Which court?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink


      But “reckless and wasteful use of taxpayers’ money” is just what governments do well, perhaps the only thing. Not their money after all, what do they care about delivering value to the public.

      See:- The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King et al for just a few of them.

      Plus so few politicians are sensible, numerate, have any understanding of logic, engineering, maths, science, energy economics or reason. Self publicists and/or PPE or Law graduates in the main it seems.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        At least some in the DUP seem to be giving this government some (very badly needed) back bone.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        The Daily Politics had a long presentation about the UK’s productivity problem. Also no Andrew Neil today. But there was virtually no mention or discussion of the main reasons for such low productivity which are:- lack of competition in banking, endless misguided red tape, over taxation everywhere, over complex taxation, over regulation of everything, the UK’s damaging litigation culture, daft complex employment laws, poor schools, blocked and slow roads and a massive lack of road capacity, lack of airport capacity, expensive property, restrictive planning rules, expensive “renewable” religion energy, the endless attacks on pensions, the rich, hardworking and the gig economy, huge waiting lists for the NHS preventing people getting back to work ….. above all the size of the largely incompetent state the private sector has to carry.

        Perhaps Hammond will get his productivity act together finally tomorrow.

    • eeyore
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      £40bn among 66m Brits is £606 a head. A family of four will be sending the EU the thick end of £2500, which will cost their breadwinner 200 hours or five working weeks to earn. I hope Mrs May will soon tell us why this danegeld is necessary, because many would dearly like to know.

      To be fair, we should note that her offer is made without prejudice. Can it be that she wishes to make clear that any collapse of talks will not be owing to a lack of British goodwill – or cash on the table?

    • bigneil
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry – it will all be paid from cuts to services for the working classes. The rich are safe, as their money is stashed away offshore as Panorama showed. The rich will travel on HS2 – but the poorer section of the country will have paid for it.

      • eeyore
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Many think like bigneil and resent the rich. It may comfort them to reflect that 40% of workers pay no income tax at all, while 60% of households receive more from the state than they put in. This money comes from the very people whom they delight to abuse.

        The top 1% of earners pay nearly 30% of the income tax. The top 10% pay more than half. On these figures, it is clear that few wealthy people can be tax dodgers (to use the ambiguous term currently fashionable), and hardly any can be criminal tax evaders.

        Such rich people as I know (invested in land and property and therefore not capable of “stashing offshore”) are scrupulous to pay all the law demands, simply because it is not worth their while to fall foul of it. However, they do feel the injustice of subsidising others while being unjustly accused of cheating by their thankless but insatiable beneficiaries.

        • anon
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          So where is the impetus for the appalling strategy that requires facilitation payments before trade can happen!.

          Not remotely acceptable. Quit talks now.

          Whoever supports this will need to prepare for the question as to who will end up paying for such ill thought propositions.

          I suggest an EU exit tax on those that vote it through against the clear wishes of the electorate.

  5. Nig l
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    This makes the WTO arguement very well, messages coming out of no 10 seem to suggest the Cabinet is going the other way. Let us hope note. Interesting how the Remain spin comes up with something new as you demolish the last trope. You are now ‘inflexible bullies’. I can imagine them daily thinking what can we make up to say on the BBC.

    On a serious note, I know you have covered this before but the ‘if every lorry took two minutes at the border it would clog up the south east’ argument is made regularly seemingly without rebuttal and has some traction so I suggest this needs dealing with.

    What has been very powerful is James Dyson especially in relation to German markets. The Remain side do not seem to have worked out how to counter so more of him please.

    • Andy
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      The Remain side do not need to counter anything.

      We just need to wait for the lorries to queue, the prices to rise, the jobs to go, the hard border to return and for British travellers to be affected and then Brexit is toast.

      Brexiteers are prominently pensioners. You’ve not yet figured out that many of you will not be around to stop my generation undoing Brexit.

      You’ve got to make it an overwhelming success – deliver on all of your lies with interet and make nothing worse.

      You are doing a massively lousy job so far. I initially thought it would take 20 years to undo Brexit – I now reckon we can do it in less than 10. Keep it up.

      • DaveM
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Don’t get too excited, the EU will be finished in 10 years.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink


        Interesting argument.

        Perhaps with age comes wisdom ?

        The fact that we have lived in a UK before the EU may count for something. ?

        None so blind as those who refuse to see.

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You are full of hot air – your opinions unsupported by facts. Where Leave was honest, the Remains lied over and over with their project doom. There are no reasons to be ruled from Brussels just for a bit of trade with the EU. And you haven’t even attempted to give any.

        Plenty of young and middle aged people voted for Leave. And the pensioners you sneer at once voted to stay in 1975 – but they changed their minds due to the evidence of how corrupt and nasty the EU is. What makes you think today’s young won’t learn the same lesson?

      • Edward2
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        There are no queues of lorries at Felixstowe where most goods are from non EU countries.
        Neither are there queues in America and other export markets when our goods arrive.
        We leave two years after Article 50 triggered.
        That’s fixed by treaty.
        Your dreadful ageist comments are also wrong.
        Many young voted Leave.
        As you get older you just get more wise.
        Your day will come Andy

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        If you’re expecting lorries to queue then you must think those running the EU are thick enough to allow that to happen. Exactly how will it help the several millions of their own citizens whose livelihoods depend on exports to the UK to have lorries queuing up on both sides of the Channel? And do you really think that after they had seen the EU behave with such total idiocy the people of this country would dream of ever rejoining it?

  6. Duncan
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The issue of UK contributions to the EU is all well and good but the only question that is of any real significance is when will the UK become a fully independent, sovereign nation once more?

    Moreover, what legal obstacles are in place to ensure that should the Tories fall at the next election and the British public decide to elect a Marxist rabble that the UK’s EU membership cannot simply be reinstated by a simple act of Parliament?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      If we were already out of the EU under Article 50 TEU then we would have to reapply under Article 49 TEU and go through the normal accession process, so it would need more than just an Act of Parliament.

    • billR
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      That is why the Irish PM want’s it in writing or in law about the Irish border and how it will be dealt with..same goes with brussels as we have no idea as to who will be in government here in six months time..same goes for germany?

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        BillR, Whereas we know exactly who will be in power in the EU – the same old lot, because they can’t be voted out by us.

    • Hope
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Barnier made it clear yesterday if the UK wants to trade it will be subject to EU rules and ECJ oversight! Barrier states the EU is not a shareholder, its assets belong to the EU. Making it clear the money and assets we have will not be repaid. THE EU bank has £56 billion which the UK has contributed to- Why, is my first question? Cameron told us we were not on the hook for bail outs. Jr, what is the truth?

      May is keeping the UK in the EU in all but name. No one in their right mind would continue discussions based on these threats. No money, no threats, walk away now. Leaving was and is not solely about trade.

    • david willow
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      why shouldnt it be able to do it if the electorate decide it – isnt that democracy = may and her crew of imbeciles are trying very much to block any changes in the future in a true Erdogan style

      how come you lot support the will of the people such as it is and yet wont allow the will of the people to make changes when the true facts are known having exposed all the lies

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        David, If you’d care to translate maybe we could make something of your argument.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        What “true facts” are they? The Remain campaign was based upon selective presentation of facts and misrepresentations of facts and distortion of facts and denial of facts and plain fabrication of facts. Luckily enough people saw through it all even if you didn’t.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        I think I can clarify David’s point by quoting another David, David Davis, who said in a speech (the full text of which can be found on his personal website):

        “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          I did change my mind between the 1975 referendum and the 2016 referendum. So my next chance should be in 2057.

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Those figures are only the headlines.
    Then we have the billions in compliance costs which Brussels is so keen to saddle us with even after we’ve left.
    Everyone is watching you.

    • Andy
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      By compliance you mean product rules which keep you and your children safe. Just so we are totally clear what you are advocating scrapping.

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Not so. Product safety rules tend to be fairly international and are a small part of EU legislation. We had safety laws before the EU and, like the whole of the rest of the world outside the EU, we will keep our own safety legislation. There is no problem for which the EU is the answer. You are idolising aged third rate foreign politicians.

        • Andy
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          We did have safety laws before the EU. And the EU’s laws are better. The standards are tougher. Your products are safer. They are more efficient. They are better for the environment. It is a massive win for consumers.

          Of course people who like to produce substandard products will complain. Good. It is right to cost your business more money to make sure you do things properly – because if you are not made to do things properly then some of you will not do them properly.

          Regulation is there to keep us all safe. Why do we need a regulation to say window blinds have to have a safety cord for example – increasing the cost to consumers by ££ a time? Because we have learned that not having safety cords can lead to dead children, strangled by their window fittings. Why do we have meat hygenie standards? Because at some point in the past people have died when we didn’t. Regulations are a sign that we have learned from our mistakes.

          People who loathe regulation are on the wrong side of the debate. Most Leave voters did not back Brexit to lower standards. Dr Fox is in for a shock if he thinks voters will let him bring his chlorinated chicken and other Frankenstein foods in here.

          Then there is Grenfell Tower. Where 71 people – including many children – burned to death in one of the richest parts of one of the richest cities on Earth. Failed by regulations. Poor regulations. Not properly enforced regulations. Those dead children are a symbol of what happens when regulation goes wrong or just doesn’t happen.

          So the next time you bitch about a rule or red tape remember it might be your child’s life that it is saving.

          As for me idolising ‘third rate politicians’ – I should point out that the Brexiteers in Parliament would love to have anyone good enough to be considered third rate. Most do not even qualify as clowns.

          You guys are making this fun. What else would you like to learn?

          • NickC
            Posted November 22, 2017 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            Andy, Quite clearly, by your own examples, regulations have not kept us safe. Moreover, since we are still in the EU, EU regulations haven’t kept us safe. Next . . . .

          • rose
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Grenfell Tower was furnished with super-safe cladding in 1974. Then EU regulation came along and this cladding had to be replaced.

            (There have been issues with EU inspection of eggs, pork and olive oil ed)

          • libertarian
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink


            Your display of total ignorance does you no favours at all.

            You clearly are clueless about regulation and safety and compliance

            The UK had rules on product safety on Childrens toys for instance long before we joined the EU and in fact the EU used some of our regulations in order to build their directive. International banking, finance, telecoms , engineering etc etc etc compliance and regulations are set OUTSIDE the EU and the EU has to comply with them

            The EU regulations on animal welfare are disgusting and we will ban them when we have our own government .

            Grenfell Tower was cladded with EU compliant cladding. The much stricter pre EU , UK compliance standard was much more robust.

            I’m afraid you are deluded , are you about 12 years old because you ignorance on compliance, standards, regulations etc is obvious to all of us THAT ACTUALLY deal with this stuff on a day to day basis

            Grow up, learn something real then get back to us

      • Edward2
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        You plainly have never run an export manufacturing company and seen the huge rise in red tape regulation and rules.
        This has nothing to do with health and safety.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. I tend to think that it is not that T May “does not have the interest of the country are heart”. I think the problem is that she is too dim to see what those interests are.

        • Tasman
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

          It’s the rules that let you export. The whole point is that the EU puts in place common rules so we trade with all 27 states in the same way they trade with us. No common rules, no easy export trade, but instead tariffs and non tariff barriers

          • NickC
            Posted November 22, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

            Tasman, We export a lot more to the rest of the world than we do to the EU, so it’s not as difficult as you imagine. When we export to Mexico it does not mean that Mexico makes our laws for us in the UK. So we can export to the EU without having to be governed from Brussels.

      • David Murfin
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Andy, all of these rules will (assuming the EU Withdrawal Bill passes with its main objective unaltered) become part of British Law the day we leave the EU. UK Parliament will then decide which to keep and which to repeal. Do you really expect laws ensuring children’s safety to be repealed? Perhaps we shall send eight year olds to dig for coal?

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Andy, do you really think we need the EU to make these rules for us? We had health and safety before we joined the dictatorship.

  8. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Well there you have it, Brexiteers can make good on their promise on the brexit bus!
    With Amsterdam’s reputation as Europe’s drugs capital strengthened by the gift of EMA, there is bound to be continued close cooperation with the UK in the field of medicine, all very healthy news.
    To understand the continental positions, yesterday’s Barnier lecture can be read on the website and makes good reading.

    • NickC
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      PvL, There was no “promise” on the side of a bus; or elsewhere. The slogan was a suggestion to fund instead, without stating a specific sum.

    • chris f
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Useful link Peter, thank you

    • Richard1
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      It’s a new threat every week from M. Barnier. This week we hear that the UK’s financial services will be frozen out (not sure how this will be enforced…), last week he said U.K. tourists won’t any longer be able to take dogs and cats to the EU. Whatever next?😱 how long before he threatens invasion?!

      • Andy
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Aye and if Juncker landed with an Army at Tilbury I bet you could guess which side the Remainiacs would fight for.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I would point out that the message on the bus didnt promise that ALL the money would go to the NHS. As I recall, it said something to the effect of: ‘why not fund the NHS instead’. This is something that is often overlooked.

    • lo
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      The MHRA do about 20% of the EMA’s work. The EMA cannot function without us and have said this. The working arrangements after Brexit have not been defined. We don’t need the EMA.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      You also have the bonus effect that about 75% of the existing staff are said to want to remain in London, offering more job opportunities for your fellow countrymen.

    • Hope
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      EMA was always going to go. Siemens to creat 3,000 jobs in the U.K. Diverting from Germany and the rest of the EU. EMA 895 jobs so it looks as though the UK is up by 2,000. Gloating does not appear to be your stronger point? Amsterdam was always the focal point for illegal drugs, at least some aspect can be legal.

    • Colin Hart
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Amsterdam is Europe’s drugs capital? Are you sure that is something you want to boast about?

  9. Peter
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the first story on the ‘Today’ programme on radio 4 is that May will offer more but only if trade discussions start. No figure attached. This is supposed to make the offer more palatable.

    If true we are being sold down the river.

    I don’t know if there is the strength of numbers to oppose this. Realpolitik again.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      The best thing is Barnier has said we will only get a deal if we shadow the EU financial, environmental and social models which of course will be overseen by the ECJ.
      In fact we are not leaving the EU at all, just taxation without representation.
      We will be much worse off than now.
      The Tories are finished as a serious party of government.
      Where is Farage and Aaron Banks.

      • rose
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        “Where is Farage and Aaron Banks.” Very conveniently being “invesigated”, as is the other arm of the Leave campaign, despite the remain campaign having spent twice as much and misused the civil service and the B of E.

        And how come it is alright for Farage to have been threatened and more for 25 years, which we never heard about, but we have to hear all about the much lesser campaigns against Mrs Soubry and Mrs Miller?

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps Farage needs to send the police all of the hateful tweets he received and ask for prosecutions.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Dear Peter–“Start”??–Even if they had finished and had been signed sealed and delivered I cannot see what is to stop the rEU changing its mind–Why has Brussels never commented on the obvious fact that no “Divorce” or any other bill is in the Treaties? The Treaties are otherwise prescriptive in Spades. I am disgusted by continually having to listen to what the rEU merely wants or needs–about which I couldn’t care less.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      ” sold down the river ” ? . . . Someone has to pay for the EU army that will invade England one day.

  10. Caterpillar
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    So why all the reports that UK is ready to pay more, so called, divorce bill?

  11. DaveM
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Your leader seems determined to appease the EU whatever the cost. Can we just **** leave now?

    • Doug Powell
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Yes, “Theresa the Appeaser!”

      All that remains is for her to stand on the tarmac, waving a piece of paper, proclaiming “EU peace in our time!”

      Someone needs to stand up and repeat the words Leo Amery “In the name of God, go!”

    • Atlas
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      DaveM – I agree with you. £40 Billion is a step too far.

  12. Sahara gold
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the EUROPEAN Brexit negotiators are playing a game of bluff with us. We have a strong position, they need to maintain tariff free access to our markets – particularly the vehicle market as they are tooled up to produce right hand drive vehicles to suit our roads. And food, apparel, and the eastern Europeans want access to our labour market.
    All this talk of paying them billions to get a trade deal is very worrying, I don’t think that the public will stand for it when we need to invest further in the NHS, provide the elderly with care services and all the other things that need to be done following ten years of austerity. Not to mention the absolutely disastrous roll out of universal benefit.
    Now is not the time for us to blink in these negotiations. The City will remain the premier financial centre of the world. Tell Merkel and Macron that we are going to walk away. Byeeeee!

  13. eeyore
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    So in pure cash terms, netted off, making every allowance, the benefit of being in the EU is minus £3.41 a week for each man woman and child.

    For our minus £3.41 a week we get Germans making our laws, French controlling our borders, the sneers of Belgians and the spite of Luxembourgers, plus the immense sense of moral superiority that comes from freezing out our neighbour continent Africa to such a degree that its inhabitants must risk perishing in small boats because the land of their birth cannot trade with us on fair terms.

    Now there’s a bargain!

  14. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Kindly warning to the government –

    You had better not give the EU any pocket money.

    The electorate is watching.

    • Richard1
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      So what? Labour would give them even more and stay in the single market, the customs union, remain under the ECJ etc. If you want out of the EU the Conservatives are the only game in town.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but May & Hammond will do. Probably giving us Corbyn in the process.

    • APL
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Dave Andrews: “The electorate is watching.”

      And the problem is that’s all they’ve been doing.

      It’s past time the Tory EUsupporters felt the ground move beneath their feet.

      Why does ( for example ) Kenneth Clarke get returned year after year?

  15. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Looking at these figures John, why the hell is Mrs May continuing to talk with the EU? Just leave. I resent giving the EU more of our money while services back home will suffer. We do not pay taxes to make the EU more comfortable than ourselves. Our national debt is rising and the interest is going up. Madness!!

  16. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    How much will all the falling apart within Germany impact on the end result with us leaving?

    Could not other mainstream parties around Europe will see what happened to Merkel and decide not to follow her path of compromise and globalism. They could well decide to shift right or left, creating divisions between them.

    If this start to happens it is well certain that EU policy becomes even more uncertain.

    The longer our negotiations go on, possibly the weaker the EU becomes by splintering. On the one hand, that might make them more desperate. It could well pressures them into deals. Hopefully the EU loses its stability, a successful Brexit in defiance of the EU begins to look dangerously enticing for other nations.

    Its all in the cards but it just might happen. More reason not to give a penny more.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      EU policy is already clear. It is for Germany to rule the entire continent of Europe.

  17. James Dell
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you should forward this to May, as she seems intent on handing over a sum which makes the 350M on the bus look like small change. And for what exactly?

    The handling of this will, for me, determine whether the 10 or so general elections I have left to vote in will be for the Conservatives, or whether my postal vote will go straight in the bin for the rest of my life.

  18. JoolsB
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Could you please show these figures to May & Co. John who are about to humiliate us by increasing the contributions to the so called divorce bill despite public opinion to the contrary. And if she thinks they will be happy with £38 billion she really is deluded. The more desperate we look, which we will, the more they will demand. The £20 billion we have put on the table is too much already. We need to walk away NOW.

    • nigelR
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      JoolsB.. the one thing I’m glad about is that these fine brexiteers Boris Gove and Fox are right at the heart of all of this decision the question is? what do they know now that we don’t know yet to allow them go along with this decision?

  19. Freeborn John
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    May needs to be deposed NOW. She is heading up this disastrous negotiation and carefully arranging a Remain majority in every comittee.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Has she done anything right as PM?

    • DaveM
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think she has the capacity to do that! It’s bewildering that the Con Party (that’s Conservative by name, Con by nature!) is so full of strong, patriotic, clever people and yet they allow themselves – and the UK – to be led by May, Hammond, Rudd, etc. Anyone in the country with half a brain cell knows that a strong stance against the EU, more cash for public services IN THIS COUNTRY, and policies which put the UK first would win the electorate round in a heartbeat. But apparently no one in the Parliamentary Tory Party knows that. Apart fro JR-M possibly.

      • Oggy
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 12:53 am | Permalink

        @DaveM – absolutely correct, well said.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, she is a misguided interventionist & soft socialist and a huge electoral liability. Clearly she cannot be allowed to go into the next election as leader. The last chance is surely Hammond’s budget tomorrow. The indications so far do not look at all good at all. More childish tinkering, net tax increases and more complexity looks very likely.

  20. Hope
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    May is delivering the EU’s Florence speech and keeping us in by another name. There is no transition it i she be any definition and unlimited extension on worse terms as we are paying more!

    Barnier states any trade deal with be with EU rules and ECJ oversight! May is keeping us in the EU by another name. No money for our public services as Rudd told the police, but as much as the EU wants to piss down the drain. Our taxes not May’s.

    etc ed

  21. zorro
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Yet the dire T May prefers to up her offer (I hope that she has enough personal funds to cover her largesse) and commit the UK to billions over and above regular contributions for what actually?……’Sufficient progress’ to be proclaimed. She even used the co-opted EU phrase herself the other night. So budget cuts, more austerity for what….? To talk about trade? So that she can bask in the approval of her EU partners? That they might throw a crumb for her to lap up?…. Not even a guaranteed free trade deal….. Oh yes, she says that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed but who in their right mind would trust her?

    She is still wedded to this ‘free trade’ illusion with the EU. It never has been free and never will be free. Enough now! No more payments to the EU and WTO international agreements only. If only we had people who love their country representing us instead of these weak willed collaborators!


  22. David Cockburn
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Looks like the £350M figure wasn’t too far off.
    Is there a figure available for how much of our public expenditure is controlled by the EU, for example, by adding in the amount of matched funding they require on the local programmes they pay for.

  23. hans chr iversen
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink


    Your calculations are correct if the trade in goods and services all remain the same, but nobody in their right mind under any WTO regime would make such an assumption as it is not realistic.

    It would most likely fall at least for the first 3 years.

    • NickC
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Hans, Trade probably will fall, as it has been doing for years, but the proportional outcome is likely to remain similar.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Under the CAP, there is no necessary relationship between the price of food and other agricultural produce such as tobacco and the cost of production; it is unreasonable that our farmers should be required to compete with such produce on the basis of ‘free’ trade. Furthermore, our standards of animal husbandry are much higher than pertains in the EU; animals are sentient beings, not just units of production.

      WTO rules will give our farmers space to compete more fairly and develop according to our needs without disruption from deliberate market distortion. The result would be more home produced food, much of a higher quality than that produced in the EU, leading to greater import substitution and higher consumer satisfaction.

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately Mr Redwood it seems that your and your fellow back bencher’s views carry less weight daily.

    Why are the facts not being used in negotiations. Sometimes it is necessary to play chicken with a bully in order to expose their underbelly.

    Where are our leaders’ cahones. Cometh the hour and we still wait.

    • Peter
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      We only know what we hear via the media. However, I suspect clean Brexit just does not have the numbers in parliament.

      Yet Boris and Gove are said to be on board with gifting the extra money. Maybe they know the EU will reject the proposed terms anyway? Maybe they are testing the water with public opinion and will subsequently announce a different version of events?

      We really don’t know.

  25. alan jutson
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The remain argument always seems to ignore the VAT element and the Customs levy, which are significant sums.

    I wonder why !

  26. Anonymous
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Whether or not the rebate goes out of the country first.

    I seem to recall Denis telling us it did (with links) some while ago.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      I am sick of the BBC and the like behaving as though the referendum is still ongoing.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Why are we expected to pay the EU money we don’t have to continue to buy their stuff ? (the £80bn trade deficit we have with them)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      It’s a refund for previous overpayments, not an upfront discount; so the £5.3 billion rebate received in 2016 relates to our overpayments in 2015, and to a lesser extent in 2014 and maybe also 2013 … it takes some years to finalise the accounts.

  27. Gary C
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Dear John.

    So according to the news we are willingly increasing the amount of ransom !

    This action will do nothing but show the world we are subservient to the EU, how embarrassing for us is that ?

    Those that voted for leave did not do so to be sold down the river by our MPs.

    Do you honestly think this pathetic behaviour will keep the Conservatives in power at the next election ?

    Regards, a very disillusioned voter, Gary.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Kicking boomers over the housing crisis is both dishonest and the Tory’s Ratner moment.

      Even I want them out of office now.

      • Chris
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        They are beyond the pale now, Anonymous. They will not get my vote.

  28. Lifelogic
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink


    The we have the Michel Barnier hinting that Britain would miss out on a trade deal if it doesn’t ‘stay close to the European model’.

    No one sensible would stay remotely close to the European (EU) model. It has clearly been a disaster just as one would expect. One size fits all, big government, top down, climate alarmist, regulated and taxed to death, single currency for all, anti-democratic, greencrap, economic lunacy. Yet he wants the UK to stick to this when we are an independent democratic country again!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Then again I suppose May and Hammond might.

    • LiamB
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic.. Barnier was doing more than hinting..he was spelling it out very clearly..the more the UK departs from the EU sphere of things the more difficult it is going to be to get a future deal on favourable terms ..that’s the reality..if we go WTO rules as our host JR is forever plugging then we are on our own..we will be treated as third country status.. I think the cabinet and most thinking politicians, big business and anyone else in business now accepts this .. all except maybe Dyson and Tim Martin..because it doesn’t matter too much to them..they already have it made!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        They have indeed made it and they also know what is best for the UK. After all they may have “made it” but they are not that young. You cannot take the money with you we are all mortal. They are, in my opinion, right in every respect. They have nothing to lose by telling the truth after all.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis says it is ‘part of the negotiations’ as to whether the court will have a role in supervising the rights of EU citizens in the UK after that time.

      No, no, no. The only roll they can have is perhaps to express a view – which we can ignore if we want to same as anyone else.

      • rose
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        You cannot “negotiate” your independence as a nation: you either take it back or you don’t.

        The trouble with these bubble dwellers is that they don’t know what an independent nation is any more, and they don’t care that they don’t know.

  29. NHSGP
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    You can’t levy any tariffs on them.

    The UK and France have signed a no tariff deal under the WTO.

    It’s illegal for the UK to impose tariffs or barriers to trade.

    What I suspect is also illegal is Tories like yourself voting to pay the EU a divorce bill without their being a legal obligation to do so.

    What I expect is you passing a bill in parliament removing that illegality to protect yourself from being wiped out by a court case.

    Any bets that’s going to happen?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      NHSGP – No doubt backsides will be covered 🙁

      What do you mean “The UK and France have signed a no tariff deal under the WTO.” does that pre-date the UK joining the Common Market?

      Is it still valid?

      And lets get it straight – The UK has been a net contributor to the Common Market / EU for every year since 1973 except for 1 year. I expect credit for that and credit for the EU assets we have funded.

      To pay more than is legally required is surely suicide for Mrs May and the Conservatives…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Come on them, give us some evidence to support your unlikely assertions.

      Otherwise we can just dismiss them as tosh.

  30. Bob
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    So the TV Licence fee debate went ahead and everyone present agreed that the BBC is a treasured national institution. The Licence Fee system is the best available option for funding it, but since we now live in the digital age a subscription service may be introduced on top of the licence fee for premium content.

    The ayes have it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      The BBC is the main reason we have a choice between dire socialists like May and even more dire socialists like Corbyn. The BBC frame the debate in such an absurd Guardian think politics of envy way. Also why we put up with such an appalling health system with such poor outcomes.

      The BBC – always in favour of more state, more regulations, more greencrap, more dire state monopolies like the NHS, more fake equality and more taxes.

  31. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Unless we give in, cough up what we are told to cough up (this time – but what about in a couple of years when we get another ultimatum?) we will be banned from trading with all the EU states. We will become a third country – outside in the cold.
    No more holidays in Majorca! No more Spanish plonk on the shelves! No racing at Cheltenham!
    M. Barnier spelled this out this week in a 2000 word speech. Nobody was listening.

    So – do we couch up or not – this time?

    Or do we join EFTA/EEA and use that as a platform from which to extricate ourselves from the very unattractive the United States of Europe.

    • NickC
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Mike, Give it a break. Your infatuation with the EFTA/EEA route is like old chewing gum: pointless and unpleasant. The legal position is that when we leave the EU, we leave the EEA at the same time. To re-join the EFTA, and then sign up to the EEA agreement afterwards, simply puts us back under EU control for trade: pointless and unpleasant.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Or do we start thinking about it rather than just parroting what somebody else says because he’s miffed that his preferred exit route is not being followed …

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Do keep up Mike, HoC voted overwhelmingly yesterday against an amendment to leave open the option of staying in the customs union and single market.

    • Jagman84
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      EFTA/EEA membership means that effectively we are still chained to the EU. How many times does this need to be explained before you get it? Or do you not bother to read any replies? Project Fear has worked it’s magic on you, I fear!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        He doesn’t often come back to read any replies.

    • IainL
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Mike ..what is the point in joining efta/eea..we voted to leave the eu to be free to take back point in joining another point in being in the WTO let’s just do it all by ourselves..just like the old days- free trade with whomever wants!

    • Chris
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Andrew Green has provided today a reasoned argument against the EFTA option.
      Andrew Green: No, EFTA membership would not give us adequate control of immigration. There is a better way.

      In his article for Conservative Home a week ago today, James Cartlidge held out the prospect of a “miracle cure” for the related problems of trade and immigration post-Brexit. This amounts to swallowing a pill called “EFTA” – and all would be well. At one stroke, we would be out of the CAP, CFP and direct ECJ jurisdiction, as well as being able to negotiate our own trade deals, while having the power to tackle high levels of immigration by means of an emergency brake on the lines available to EEA states.

      Would that life were that simple. Sadly, an ‘emergency brake’ along such lines would not be effective, practical or desirable….”

  32. Bob
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    How much did Canada pay for a it’s trade agreement with the EU?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      And before that, how much did Canada pay just to get the trade talks started?

    • acorn
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Nothing Bob. The WTO does not allow trade deals to be “front run” with cash deals; like Spiv City FX traders do, to make currency swaps more expensive for clients; but more profitable for the FX traders. (The US, where such actions are thankfully criminal, is currently prosecuting one of our UK Bank FX Spivs.)

      Hence, Davis playing the “what do we get for the money” game, is a fatal mistake. As far as the EU and the WTO are concerned, there can be no connection between the divorce settlement and any future trade agreement. Not only does the negotiation sequence the EU has insisted on imply this, but the money will have to be signed and sealed before any trade deal is settled and EU27 approved!

      Assuming the above hurdle is crossed, the Brexit end game will become clearer. The “May Red Lines” mean the best the UK can get is (A) A Canadian type (CETA) agreement. (B) A no change/ standstill type transition to (A) with ECJ continued supremacy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Strange, I thought it was the EU making that connection.

        They say “sufficient progress” but clearly they mean “sufficient dosh”.

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, How much do you think the EU owes us in this “divorce settlement”?

  33. stred
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The way it is going, May will be handing over £1000 for every person in the UK. This PM is the biggest disaster to hit the country. Last night we heard that a relation aged 50 had his critical cancer operation cancelled for the second time because all the beds in intensive care had been occupied. The preparation was wasted. He is devastated and does not even want visitors. Before his cancer was confirmed he was fobbed off for 3 months, even though symptoms were typical and it had occurred before. How many more of us will have to put up with this before we can spend the money where it is needed?

    • Chris
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I am genuinely appalled by this, stred, and so should those MPs in government be. Words of sympathy really are no good in this situation -what your relative needs is action and pdq. I sincerely hope someone sees this and can help you.

      • stred
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Now done. This is not untypical. The NHS can be very good or dreadful. In France there would have been a choice of diagnostic clinics available at the start and hospitals to act quickly. They do not need a pyramid of management headed by an overpaid civil servant who plays at politics but can’t control drug costs or work out that closing beds is plain daft. But the Commonwealth Fund keeps rating the NHS as the most efficient in the world. Well they must know as they don’t have to use it, being based in America.

  34. alan jutson
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I hope Mrs May is not going to offer any extra payment to the EU as is being reported by many media sources of late.

    She offered 20 Billion just to get talks going, and was simply told, not enough, when our own House of Lords says we owe absolutely nothing.

    What is the point of paying for talks (with no idea where they will lead) when all past records and present attempts are meeting with a total refusal to agree on anything.
    All we ever get are demands.

    Will this be her Neville Chamberlain moment.

    Free trade is what the name suggests, payment should not be required.

    Will our leaders please show some backbone and walk away, or at least make some big demands in return. As a Country we are looking increasingly weak to the rest of the World.

    What is the chance of any good trade agreements with anyone else if we show (as we are at the moment) we cannot stand up for ourselves and fight our own corner.

    • Dunedin
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      “What is the chance of any good trade agreements with anyone else if we show (as we are at the moment) we cannot stand up for ourselves and fight our own corner.”

      A very good point Alan – the rest of the world will be watching the EU negotiations closely. If Mrs May is unwilling to stand up to the EU demands then it is time for her to step aside – we need a PM who will not capitulate.

  35. Bob
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Has the govt received an itemised “divorce” bill from the EU yet, or are we just bidding against ourselves?

  36. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Despite this we hear that the government is prepared to surrender to EU extortion just to get them to talk about future trade arrangements. Tomorrow we will be told that the Chancellor is constrained in what he can do whilst happily throwing money away to the EU and overseas aid. The opposition is even worse. What a mess.

  37. Rob Jump
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The advantages of no deal are so obvious and so large that the UK government is clearly behaving irrationally by even considering paying the ludicrous bill from Brussels. The only explanation is that is the pro EU, Remainer, fifth column mentality that has done so much to undermine Britain ever since we joined. If we had a Prime Minister and cabinet that had the good of the country at heart we would see a very different negotiation from the submissive appeasement we get from May.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I tend to think that it is not that T May “does not have the interest of the country are heart”. I think the problem is that she is too dim to see what those interests are.

    • anon
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the “offer of money” is to ensure that “legal” disputes don’t arise and certain information does not reach the public domain. Anyone come up with a better reason?

  38. am
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    She goes to Sweden to talk. The EU talk tough. She comes back from Sweden to get cabinet approval for more money. Seems like a bit wimpish. Whatever happened to brexit means brexit and a red, white and blue brexit.

    • David L
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      “Red White and Blue Brexit”…aah, now I understand…our finances plunge deeper into the RED, the EU bleed us WHITE and the UK electorate’s language is mostly BLUE. Who said they wouldn’t deliver on their promises?

      • am
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        yep, it is getting back to you can’t trust a tory. Just as well Alasdair Campbell doesn’t work for Jeremy Corbyn. He would quickly make mince meat of this government just on their fudging.

  39. Sally
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Why doesn’t the BBC discuss this properly?

    So, it appears we would be levied approximately £5B to get £12B back. And no annual contribution! What’s not to like?

    With information like this why, oh why, is May considering paying more in the ‘divorce bill’? Does she not realise what an excellent negotiating position she is in? If she stood her ground and stopped giving in to the demands of the EU she would be held in much greater regard than she is now.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      The BBC never discuss anything properly do they? Perhaps I missed it?

  40. Iain Moore
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I understand the World Bank estimated that WTO terms would cost us 0.25% of GDP . As our economy amounts to £2 trillion, I reckon that works out to a £5 billion cost, and our geniuses in Government are trying to give the EU £40 billion? That is 8 years of the estimated cost of WTO terms. At what point do our geniuses in Government work out that deal with the EU isn’t worth the money?

    On a slightly different issues, but similar woolly thinking coming from Government is us being kicked off the International Court of Justice by India, a country over whom we shower our Aid money, and as it got elected to the Court by the UN General Assembly many of those countries are also in receipt of our Aid. They think so highly of us they put us behind the Judicial wisdom of Somalia, Jamaica, Lebanon etc So much for soft power, more like soft headed.

  41. Fed Up and Angry
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Given the government seems intent on selling the country out, making 40BN promises to the EU that we don’t owe which will result in less money for schools, hospitals here and tax rises, I have decided that the Conservatives will no longer get my vote at the next election.

    To say I’m disgusted is an understatement – I would happily see the entire cabinet in gaol over this – it’s an outrageous fraud/treason being committed against the public.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Fed up and angry. Reading all the comments it is more than obvious that we all feel the same as you. We have been betrayed by this government.

  42. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    A week or so ago I commented here that I suspected Barnier’s demand that UK cough up more money within two weeks was pre-arranged with May who had already agreed to do exactly that. In this way Barnier could present it to his stakeholders as evidence of his tough and successful negotiating. Seems I was right.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Roy – That’s politicians for you – weasels of the highest order.

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, nothing changes – BBC Breakfast ran a quite long segment on tampon tax this morning without any mention of the EU. No “I suppose this could be one advantage of Brexit”, just no mention at all of the EU. It was first introduced in 1973 – no reminder that this was when we joined the EEC – and the rate has varied but it is now at the minimum rate of 5% – no reminder that this non-zero minimum rate is determined by the EU, as it is for domestic fuel and for repairs to churches etc.

    And as there is nobody awake at the Rapid Rebuttal Unit in David Davis’s department there is no response of any kind; well, of course there is in fact no Rapid Rebuttal Unit, either because David Davis just can’t be bothered with what the British public may be induced to think by misleading media commentary or because Theresa May has expressly forbidden him to reply to any of the pro-EU anti-Brexit garbage which is being spread around day after day; and so the media narrative carries on totally out of the government’s control, gradually reducing official government policy to an object of mockery.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      The Republic of Ireland has no tampon tax. The fact that the UK does is a consequence of decisions made in Westminster and Downing Street, nowhere else.

      It was a Conservative government who introduced the tampon tax. It was a Conservative government who introduced VAT on domestic fuel. It was a Conservative government who signed up to not being able to zero-rate for VAT once it had been previously charged (they had a veto on this and chose not to use it).

      Responsibility for the inability of the UK to zero-rate either of these items lies entirely at the feet of the Conservatives.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        I can well believe that a Conservative government agreed that once VAT had been charged on any item then it could never be removed, and I can equally well believe that a Conservative government decided to apply VAT to tampons just as a Conservative government with the euromaniac Kenneth Clarke as Chancellor decided to apply VAT to domestic fuel.

        None of that alters the fact that the impossibility of reversing the previous bad decision and entirely removing the tax on tampons is down to EU law, a fact which was studiously ignored by the BBC this morning.

        I think maybe you are labouring under the misapprehension that I am a Conservative party supporter.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

          I am simply highlighting that all these decisions were ones made in the UK by the UK government, they were not imposed by the EU.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            And I am simply highlighting that if we had not been in the EU then we would not have had UK governments tying the hands of their successors and locking in ill-conceived laws.

    • rose
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      When I told an undecided Cornish taxi driver that our PM had to crawl round 27 foreign countries, begging for permission to reduce this tax on tampons and hadn’t got it, the man said that had decided him: he would vote leave.

  44. Bert Young
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    It is always reassuring to receive the sort of analysis John has produced in today’s blog . I don’t track the figures with this kind of accuracy ; I only look at the broad picture and try to decide what is going on and whether my own position is in any kind of jeopardy .

    Last night had the news that a consensus had been reached in the Brexit Cabinet meeting to agree to an increased offer to the EU ; this annoyed me . It now seems to me that we have weakened or negotiating position and have given up the principle of a “hard” result . Obviously Theresa has lost whatever credibility she had to lead us forward in a positive manner and to show to the world that we are ready for business . I interpret the outcome as a win for the likes of Hammond . The sooner a re-shuffle occurs involving our leadership the better .

    • rose
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      But they would just put in Amber Rudd. They are no more likely to put in someone sensible than they were last time. We still have the same Conservative MPs, minus the ones that lost their seats.

  45. Cobwatch
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    £20 billion was not enough so more is to be offered. It is embarrassing. The EU know a coward when they see one…this Govt. The EU are laughing all the way to the bank. Once the offer has been upped, and upped, and upped, you cannot expect anything else. The “conditionality” of this offer is meaningless, this offer will now be the lowest possible payment regardless of the “deal”. How naive. May is not delivering Brexit, she is purchasing it with taxpayers hard earned. How much did Canada pay? Of course, they are sensible and have a backbone to boot…

    • Iain Moore
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      There are reports suggesting that the £38 billion offer has already been rejected

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Watch this space.

      I would not be surprised if our Government concedes on a small sweetener sum of £Billions annually in perpetuity…this is how asinine they have become!

      Quick question JR (should be easy)

      “What is Hammond getting out of this and who is pulling his strings?”

      I trust this post will be posted..can never tell these days?

  46. Pat
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Rather than taxing ourselves on imports and then cutting tax elsewhere, it would be simpler to not tax ourselves on imports from anywhere. Waive all import duties pending the outcome of trade negotiations, and then work our way round the world negotiating reductions in the duty charged on our exports. Start with the nation’s most inclined to free trade and most cooperative.

  47. NickC
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    JR, Can we have a link, please?

    These figures are not what I have found from the Parliamentary briefing (CBP 7886), nor the ONS

    Reply THis comes from HMT/OBR document on EU contributions for 2016

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I would also appreciate a link, JR.

    • acorn
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      You won’t find at least the first two numbers anywhere. Google: European Union Finances 2016: statement on the 2016 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement.

      Also: Full Fact GB: The UK’s EU membership fee.

      You won’t find them either in the Treasury Consolidated Fund accounts either. Which is the source of all government payments.

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, “Full Fact” is one of the most biased outlets I’ve seen – very similar bias to the BBC’s supposed “fact” checking.

    • PeterL
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi John,
      many thanks, but do you have a link? Its just that if debating, others will ask for the official source?
      best wishes

  48. Iain Gill
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    At this point I am, like the majority of the public, becoming very disillusioned with our political system.

    We have a wishy washy, blowing in the wind, political elite insulated from the real world most of us live in, who have been told to get on and get us out of the EU, sort out immigration and cut it radically, and start concentrating on our own people… and as much as they waffle on they appear determined to carry on regardless.

    Stop paying the EU now, that what you do with any other supplier that fails in their side of the bargain. Dont give them a penny more. If that means Mandelson wont get his pension there will be nobody crying in the street.

  49. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    So the Leave side lied to us when they said that our gross contribution to the EU budget is £350 million a week, the true figure for 2016 was £445 million a week, and that alone is a good reason why we must have a repeat referendum …

    But I don’t think we can say with complete certainty that the gross contribution less rebate for earlier overpayments was £343 million a week in 2016, because it can take several years to finalise the accounts and so come to a final number for the refund due to the UK.

    Incidentally so far none of the media reports of Electoral Commission investigations into possible overspending by several Leave campaigns has mentioned that overall the Remain side spent twice as much as the Leave side:

    £28.3 million v £13.4 million.

  50. Cynic
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    It appears that the two year transition period is just a means of meeting the EU demands for more money without seeming to be giving in to them.

    • Cobwatch
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Cynic, that was always the case. A more politically tolerable, and indeed devious way of coughing up.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      It would be that too but JR is looking at the effect on the gvt finances (keep in mind that UK total gvt revenue is over GBP 700 bn so 11 bn is not a lot) the impact on the private sector is harder to assess and most professional economists are quite pessimistic about that.

      • NickC
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Rien, There speaks a man used to splurging someone else’s money. £11 billion not a lot, indeed!!

        There are no good reasons why we should be ruled from Brussels by politicians we don’t elected and Commissioners that no one elects (and, no, they are not equivalent to our civil service). And no reason to bribe you to talk. Most of the world is not in the EU, and we can join them. We already use WTO rules for our external trade.

        We would prefer to trade in a friendly fashion but it looks like you won’t. That’s your choice, we can’t make you, but you can’t make us either – beyond WTO rules.

  51. BOF
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    In the face of blackmail and extortion we see only appeasement and capitulation. Even accepting that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, it looks like the Cameron negotiations all over again. (‘I rule nothing out’, was the oft repeated mantra)

    The Florence offer should never have been made and to double it will be unacceptable. And this is without the totally unnecessary transition with continuing influx of immigrants, accepting ECJ jurisdiction, EU army and a sell out on fishing.

    I am starting to feel ashamed of our leadership and negotiating team.

  52. BOF
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    John, why are these figures in your post today not being shouted from the rooftops on a daily basis?

  53. English Pensioner
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Maybe the media has got it wrong, but my understanding is that this payment of £40M is to be paid and then the EU would be prepared to start talks. No money-back guarantee if the talks fail.
    Anyone prepared to do business on those terms has taken leave of his/her senses!

  54. stred
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    OT. The minister dealing with customs and the changes necessary was on yesterday, answering questions in the HoC. I caught the usual hysterical blether from Ms Sobry which is always worth a laugh. This minister seemed to be unusually competent and pointed out that her desire to stay in the customs union was not possible and she went off still as confused as ever. Would it be possible to let the local conservative association have a long run in to select future candidates from their own choosing so that we could then have a choice of actual conservatives? The MPs who are Libdems or Labour could then have time to stand for the right party.

    One worrying point was that the minister said that the lorry park in Kent near Dover and Folkestone was still held up in planning. Presumably, no work has started. The French customs are in the UK and there is no room at the port for queuing and customs checks. If nothing is ready, Macron will have an excuse to hold up our exports and cause the usual chaos, as when they keep striking. We need to have space and cameras with booths ready by March 2019. Is the civil service going slow to ensure that we cannot leave on time, the ‘transition’ is permanent and their masters in Brussels still charge for them to sell to the UK?

  55. RupertP
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    It all looks good, but your numbers don’t factor in the loss of trade / UK taxes we will suffer due to EU non-tarriff barriers following an abrupt departure from the EU. Much business which is currently conducted from London / UK will no longer be permitted to be undertaken with the EU from the UK under WTO / EU rules – Examples: Loss of passporting for UK financial services firms, chemicals not authorised under REACH regulations, cars not recognised as conforming to EU “type” regulations, broadcasters not permitted to operate across the EU from London etc. etc. The devaluation of the pound does not make any of this business more competitive as you suggest – It is simply foregone.

    Regarding goods, even if we build sufficient customs facilities on our side of the channel, we can pretty much guarantee that the Europeans will not do so on their side for many years, if ever, as they will want to do all they can to frustrate our trade with them. This will mean our goods are held up at the border and subject to costly inspections which will add substantial friction to trade with the UK.

    You can’t do this sort of analysis without factoring these extra costs in. We must bear in mind that the EU has a political objective of ensuring we are less successful outside the EU than we were in it (to discourage other potential leavers), so you can guarantee that the EU will do whatever it takes to ensure our trade with them is frustrated and curtailed wherever possible.

  56. Lifelogic
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    No divorce bill, a real and clean Brexit, restoration of real democracy and control of our own country and borders, plus freedom to agree whatever we want wherever we can with any country or block.

    What is not to like? Other than the current socialist direction of the Tories with perhaps Corbyn to follow if they keep it up I suppose.

    Let us hope Hammond finally find a working compass for the party tomorrow – rather unlikely though that seems.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Just a reminder that this huge, partly unjustifiable, “exit bill” that Theresa May is happy for us taxpayers to give to the EU as a bribe just to get them talking about trade will still be dwarfed by what we would be paying into the EU over future years if we had voted to stay in. The financial hit is a consequence of our past politicians’ stupid decision to join in the first place, not a consequence of the people’s wise decision to leave.

    For example, to take that £23 billion gross figure for 2016 and make the (unrealistic) assumption that it stayed the same in real terms then that would be more than a trillion pounds over the next four decades, roughly twice as much as we have paid in on over the past four decades:

    “British taxpayers have paid more than ‘£500 BILLION into EU since UK joined the bloc'”

    But I wonder if at some point any of our MPs, supposedly guardians of the nation’s finances and defenders of us taxpayers, will ask the government to pass on a detailed breakdown of the bill. You know, like the kind of itemised invoice typed up on headed paper that a local tradesman would usually submit after he had done some work for you, not just a scrap of paper torn from a pad with a total number scrawled on it.

  58. Mr Rob Drummond
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    This is the FIRST TIME I have seen the TRUE figures – except when I have used them.

    No-one, apart from you and now, have added in the Customs Duties ()75% of what is charged) and the VAT contribution that is paid to The EU ON TOP of our normal contributions.

    Well done!

  59. John Finn
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink


    Can you just confirm that customs duties and VAT are not part of the generally recognised “contribution” ?

    I made this argument myself but was told I was wrong.

    • acorn
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Wrong, customs duties and VAT are part of EU member contributions and always have been.

      Customs Duties and Sugar Levies are 15% of EU revenue. VAT is 12% and GNI is 73%.

  60. steve
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    the words contribution , or regular payment are terms used by remain to hide the TRUE COST to the nation, i notice you have not mentioned all the ADDITIONAL billions paid according to the bruges group. I hope you will inform people of the total cost, not just the regularised payments.

  61. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The Remainers are completely in charge. Heywood, Rudd and Hammond are apparently forming policy which is contrary to what we voted for. Why is this permitted? Where are the Tory MPs who are going to uphold the results of the referendum? Nowhere to be seen. The only option now is radical action and for May to be removed and her Remainers too. We have to have a team fit for purpose and who will not betray this country.

  62. Epikouros
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    There is considerable danger in offering the EU £40B just for the privilege of them acting more reasonably. It is nothing more than acceding to a demand for money with menace. It is simply extortion. Give in once and the door is opened to never ending demands for more of the same or worse. I can understand why the offer has been made. It is an effort to avoid the constant quibbling over a divorce settlement that although it may have no legal substance is sufficiently contentious to cause unacceptable delay. No doubt it is to shut the remoaners up as well although they will just find something else to bleat about. It appears the EU has kept it’s nerve and the UK has not. However if the £40B is all it costs the UK (doubtful) to achieve a deal that we Brexiteers want then it will probably be money well spent. If not then Mrs May will have landed the UK into another mess just as she and Philip Hammond repeatedly appear to be doing. Her with her lack of direction and botched election and he with is woefully awful budget.

  63. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Slapdown from EU to May’s extra billions, if D Express article accurate. Totally predictable. This only shows that they are playing a game which they are utterly relishing as it demonstrates the complete and utter weakness and ineffectivess of our PM. We are a laughing stock, and it is time for Boris and Gove and others to do something about it and pdq:
    Brussels issues Brexit slap down: May’s £36bn offer NOT ENOUGH to kickstart talks
    THERESA May’s £36billion Brexit divorce bill offer is not enough to move negotiations to phase two unless, EU diplomats have blasted.

  64. mick
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink
    So the offer isn`t good enough well tough just tell them to take it or we are leaving right now and you will get NOTHING, just call there bluff they will be the ones to blink first

  65. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Support to the UK from the US over Brussels and its bullying:
    “Governor says country stands side by side with UK as he blasts EU
    A US Governor launched a tirade against European Union chiefs for issuing a Brexit “ransom bill” on Britain.
    Brexit supporter Phil Bryant said Americans failed to understand Brussels’ conditions for the UK to quit the European Union.

    Speaking on Nigel Farage’s LBC show, the Governor of Mississippi said Britain “did not need permission to do anything”. He added the United States, Canada and Mexico were all waiting to do post-Brexit deals with the UK and build “greater alliances”.

    Mr Bryant said: “It’s hard for Americans to grasp this. Apparently, Brussels still is trying to tell you, even after the vote by the people of Great Britain, that they’re going to decide what Great Britain will do……”

  66. kenD
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    A politician promising to give money back to consumers with benefit increases is a good one!- so believe that and you can believe in the man on the moon!

    JR’s Figures, just like statistics can be conjured up any way you like and in the end there is little point, that is what we have government for..the only chance, we the public, gets to change things is every few years at election time..unfortunately for us

    Consider this.. I million walked in protest in London at Blairs decision to go to war in Iraq and where did it get us? absolutely nowhere.. so better let May and Co. get on with it.- if JR in parliament can do little to influence things then what chance have we.

  67. James K-L
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Under the WTO option, why would we want to continue to use the EU’s tariff schedule? Even if we didn’t go for unilateral free trade, at the very least we should remove tariffs on goods we do not make or grow and get rid of ridiculous agricultural quotas.

  68. agricola
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    This so called negotiation has now taken on all the qualities of a Whitehall Theatre farce. Time to call a halt and leave Barnier in the wardrobe minus his trousers. Failure on the part of T May will lead to an unmanageable situation in the HoC and a revolt vote wise in the country. Time to get a grip.

  69. rose
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if you are going to write on the Queen and the Duke’s anniversary, but what can one say about the BBC’s Newsnight? The autocue reader Emily Maitlis read out, not once but twice, with a smirk on her face, that the wedding was in 1937! She also read out one or two things that were happening in 1937! She seemed to have no idea at all, and neither did the programme, that the wedding was the first happy national event after the war, or that the Queen was just a little girl before the war.

    • rose
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      And she didn’t read out anything about the Coronation!

      BTW, can you arrange for the Geography graduate to have the difference between Somalia and Somaliland explained to her?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        ……..and then people expect us to trust the word of the BBC – that doyen of accuracy and impartiality!

        Time it was broken up and made to earn its keep through voluntary subscription, not a compulsory tax.


  70. Peter
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    The new improved offer has reportedly been knocked back behind the scenes by EU diplomats.

    Stonewalling certainly seems to be the game plan for the EU and – so far – it has proved effective.

    Maybe they just intend to attack May’s weakness.

    • Jagman84
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Judging from some of her recent appearances, her main weakness is her fashion sense. She completely fails to come across as a business-like leader of a Government. In pantomime terms she is Wishy-Washy!

  71. Nig l
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Even our ‘new offer’ seems to have been rebuffed and what we are seeing is the classic problem in a negotiation. Every time you give away something without reward, that is seen as desperation/weakness and the EU is therefore responding as any negotiator would presented with this, asking for more. A few backbones for the Cabinet, please Mr Butcher!

  72. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Anna Soubry apparently continuing in her anti Brexit mode vote last night in the H of C. Only 2 Tories voted for this Labour amendment (Soubry and Clarke). This is from Jonathan Isaby’s (Brexit Central( summary:
    “Last night in the Commons saw an attempt by anti-Brexit backbenchers to cause havoc with the UK’s future relationship with the EU’s Customs Union, as Labour MP Ian Murray forced a vote on a measure he proposed that would have stopped the Government from charging duties on imports to the UK after we have left the EU. The move was defeated by 311 votes to 76 – the 76 comprising 28 Labour MPs, 38 Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, 6 Lib Dems, a Green, an Independent and 2 Tories (Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry) – with the Opposition Chief Whip and an assortment of 17 other Labour MPs joining Conservative and DUP MPs in the government lobby to block it….”

  73. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Betrayal on role of ECJ by May, claims Robert Peston.
    In what is being seen by hardline Brexiteers as a betrayal of those who voted to leave the European Union and severe links with the bloc, ministers have caved in to the demands of the EU, giving powers to the ECJ in the future, ITV’s political editor Robert Peston claimed. The move will apparently ensure the rights of the three million EU citizens living in Britain are protected.

    Mr Peston wrote in a Facebook message: “I am told ministers agreed that the European Court of Justice could after all have a continuing role in making sure the rights are protected of three million EU citizens living in Britain. “Barnier and Tusk will be relieved. The Brexiteering ultras in the Tory party will feel betrayed.”

    Wh are people referred to as ultras, simply for fighting to ensure that the Leave vote in the referendum is honoured?

  74. Peter
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    ‘In 4 months, Cabinet Brexiteers have gone from:

    1. No Transition to a 2 year transition
    2. Parallel trade talks to non-parallel talks
    3. No ECJ transition jurisdiction to No ECJ over new rules
    4. Go Whistle” to £20bn
    5. £20bn to £40bn’

    (Faisal Islam)

    Painful – but true.

    • John Soper
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Completely true – but it don’t end there. It don’t end until every single last one of the Brexiters promises has been broken. Do you in the 52% (I was!) grasp you’ve been had? I know I do. Do you see the American private health care firms waiting to move in? Can you taste the chlorinated chicken?

      • anon
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 1:02 am | Permalink

        True democrats would have
        1) issued the article 50 letter immediately.
        2) issued non negotiable terms to the EU, free trade, no payments.
        3) prepared for a WTO deal,
        4) passed legislation much earlier to dissapply any laws that prevent 3rd party trade deals being signed.
        5) promulgated a new ik/world trade strategy based on WTO
        6) reassessed the 2 year exit date and exited unilaterally if 2) was not agreed.
        7) ceased paying over regular contribuions until we had calculated the amount of money the EU owes the UK for assets purchased from 500 billion(yes billion) worth of contributions.

        Spent 40 billion on infrastructure spending in the UK.
        Roads,bridges,airports and deepwater ports to handle large increases in NON-EU trade. Including youth exchange programs with commonwealth & english speaking countries which more of our youth would benefit from

        Ensured that a PR team re-assures foreign EU citizens of their protections under UK law and their responsibilities. Providing those that wish to leave with expedited services.

  75. Chris S
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating data which encourages us along the road to a WTO deal which would be fine.

    Today The Express is reporting that un-named Brussels diplomats are saying that even adding another £20bn to Mrs May’s initial offer will not be enough to start trade talks in December. I’m not the slightest bit surprised.

    I’ve thought all along that they will insist on at least €50-60bn PLUS continuing net contributions during any transition period. This is because they will regard payments during the transition period as a completely separate issue.

    Brussels and the 27 simply do not understand that the British Government cannot be seen to give way to blackmail and hand over huge sums that everyone knows have no legal basis whatsoever.

    In fact, no Government of any complexion could survive agreeing to such humiliating terms.

    Given the attitudes on display from the other side, I can see no way we are going to get any kind of acceptable deal.

    That being the case, as soon as they refuse to move forward in December we should call a halt to negotiations, leave our offer of a full free trade deal on the table and invite them to come back when they are ready to negotiate seriously.

  76. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    So now we’re going to have the ECJ still controlling our immigration policy and we’re still going to keep all EU regulations old and new indefinitely and we’re going to pay a huge sum for the privilege of continuing to run a massive trade deficit, and in fact we’re going to have to pay a huge sum just to be allowed to talk about trade … at this rate, JR, I might just as well have voted to stay in the EU, like Theresa May and most of her cabinet.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      The stronger the arguments for leaving become the more this excuse for a government capitulates.
      JR – if we are betrayed your party is finished.

  77. fkc
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the figures which shows how much is being drained from our country for little return. If the eu in the shape of Mr Barnier refuses our latest offer of £40billion he has shown for all to see that NO amount of money will satisfy them. They are not gentlemen are not honest and will never stick with what they negotiate. Getting out now must be our priority. Further negotiations are pointless.

  78. Andy
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    But isn’t the actual figure higher ? That is only money sent under the ‘Own Resources decision’ and doesn’t include things financed ‘off balance sheet’ so to speak.

  79. Alison
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe it, but maybe this £40 bn offer is a gamble, that the EU will refuse it as too low. That refusal will inflame UK public opinion, and put pressure on recalcitrant MPs. The presence of the offer might also be favourably viewed by the public in other EU countries.

    I pray the EU refuse it. But I suspect instead the EU will wring more concessions out of Mrs May in the next three weeks, pocket the offer, and then agree to trade talks. Then they will carry on bleeding money out of the UK – €/£10 bn a time? Oh, and we’ll be tied into ‘transition’, open-ended, where we pay pretty much as before, ECJ, open borders, and no right to conclude trade agreements during that time.

    • Chris
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      If the 40 billion was a trap, then the eurocrats have fallen into it.

  80. Robin Wilcox
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    With the balance for the in their favour if anything the EU should pay the UK. WTO terms should achieve that nicely.

    Mr Redwood. The electorate will not stand for £ tens of Billions of their cash subsidising the largesse of the EU. The Conservatives will not be forgiven if they capitulate.

  81. Dennis Zoff
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink


    It seems to all intents and purposes the Conservatives leaders have completely lost the plot? This ludicrous Brexit negotiations debacle continues to show how woefully weak our incumbent leadership is! …and to the wider world?

    How long must the UK populace endure such a disregard for their wishes and repeated inability to achieve the desired outcome!

    Conclusion. We need a new and revitalised Conservative party, which has a backbone and in line with the UK’s majority thinking! Please stand up and be counted!

  82. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Accounting wise you are correct, the direct, first order effect would be a saving. However, the impact of “WTO” (not an unambiguous concept btw, if UK inherits existing EU/WTO privileges -big question, then results will be much better than UK just being an orphan member) on the UK economy has not been modeled realistically. Adjustment costs -> less profit to tax, BoE response to a possible weakening of the GBP/EUR to , say 100 or less and the follow on effects, etc may change the outcome considerably.

    • NickC
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Most of the world don’t have the “existing EU/WTO privileges” but trade quite happily using WTO rules. We can do so too. You won’t admit it but most of these so-called “privileges” are extremely minor modifications of the basic overarching WTO system.

  83. Frazer Broomby
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not forget WTO requires negotiated agreements these cannot be automatically assumed this could take months to negotiate with EACH (country).
    Feels like the wheels are falling off.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Well, in fact the WTO turns a blind eye to a great deal, for example that the EU still hasn’t updated its quotas from when it had only fifteen members.

    • lo
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      What do you think Liam Fox has been doing for the past year?

    • NickC
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Frazer, Most of the EU’s additional RTAs are extremely minor modifications of the original overarching WTO system of trade rules. It wouldn’t really matter if we don’t have them. However we have already signed a joint UK/EU letter to the WTO indicating we will honour existing RTA quotas, so a lot of the job is already done.

    • John Soper
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Months? No way, Frazer. Many years. the wheels have truly fallen off

  84. zorro
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Intelligence suggests that the EU are going to reject the so called £36bn exit fee and humiliate her again. Not surprising as they know that she would come running back again. Enough of this already….. If that is the case, then her political flush is well and truly busted, and she must go. She can also take Heywood and Robbins with her, and they can share a bottle of whisky and think what other item they might need to render their nation a good service….


    • zorro
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      A truly pathetic performance – Barnier has reiterated his totally unacceptable straitjacket requirements to enable “free trade”. I can only thank God that they are acting to type and it will be politically impossible for May to get this through. Just imagine what she would have done with a large majority eh? I think that I know, more of the same without the fear from Brexiteer backbenchers…..


  85. John Dodds
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The decision to pay even more for nothing guaranteed is most depressing.I thought the PM was a much stronger character with her “red white and blue Brexit means Brexit”.I am sure that a multitude of voters are getting the massage that we are being sold down the river by this lady and her remainers.She is a terrible disappointment !

  86. alan jutson
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Off topic

    I see it has been reported today that the NHS has been spending a huge amount of extra money on drugs for thyroid treatment.

    Up from £600,000 pa to £32,000,000 pa.due to a massive price increase from the drugs company involved.

    Yet another organisation which is taking the government for a ride.

    The list along with foreign aid almost seems endless.

    It seems no matter where we turn, our government is happy for the taxpayers to be a cash cow to whoever demands money, for any reason.


    We are fast becoming the laughing stock of the World.

  87. HenryS
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Nigel evans insists on equating UK membership of the EU with being the same as being a customer in a restaurant paying a bill for a meal..but it is more than that..we are in fact one of the partner owners of the restaurant, if you like, or of the EU and that is the difference. It is this silly discourse by various brexiteer politicians that has us in this 350 on the side of a bus..and taking back control..they can go whistle..and the german car workers will ride to our rescue..all the old british right wing tosh..UKIP and Tory nonsense. And today we still have it with JR’s talk about WTO rules..if WTO rules were the great panacea put out by some then why is government struggling so hard to have a deal..any deal..with the EU? Because now they know that the EU a consumer market of 500 million right on our doorstep cannot be ignored. Yet we still have people nigel evans talking nonsense..the penny has dropped.

  88. Ron Olden
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink


    The Government borrowing figures out today represent a substantial improvement, although are still MUCH too high. Germany, for example, has a £15 Billion Surplus.

    The BBC’s allegation that ‘debt interest payment is up’ owing to the Brexit Vote however, is of course, a pack of lies. But what can we expect from the BBC.

    A small proportion of the Government’s Debt interest payment is up owing to higher inflation caused by the fall in the overvalued Pound following the Brexit vote, so increasing the amount they have to pay out in Index Linked Debt.

    But that will only last for one year owing to the spike in inflation, which is happening this very month and next.

    NET non indexed debt fell, following the Brexit Vote having resulted in the temporary halving of Base Rate. Bond Rates also fell at the same time.

    The Bank of England (also as a consequence of the Brexit Vote) introduced a further £60 Billion of Quantitative Easing which has covered almost the entire amount of the deficit since the Vote.

    So had there been no Brexit Vote, the Government would have had to borrow the £60 Billion openly, and pay interest in it instead of printing the money and paying interest to itself, which is what happens when the Bank prints money to buy Government Debt.

    The sum would actually have been even higher than that, as without the fall in the overvalued Pound, economic growth and therefore tax revenues would have been lower, and State spending higher.

    The REAL figure for Government Debt is buried away at the end of this report after the BBC has spent the rest of it bombarding us with defeatist propaganda.

    The report briefly reveals, that ‘NET Government Debt’ (that’s after stripping out the money the Government owes itself), is £1.6 Trillion, which is near identical to what it was this time last year.

    Seeing that the Bank of England has printed sufficient money to fund the deficit in the intervening period, that’s hardly surprising.

    That figure however is a huge advance in ‘real money’ terms.

    Gross Domestic product in cash terms is well over 4% higher than it was this time last year. So the ‘real’ debt burden has fallen by the same amount. It’s like a person earning 4% more than he was last year, whilst having the same mortgage outstanding.

    The cash value of both Privately and State owned assets have also risen significantly since this time last year. Which is similar to your house rising in value whilst the outstanding mortgage remains unchanged.

    This won’t carry on during next year and the year after however. If Hammond carries out his threat to SPEND SPEND SPEND and the Government shovels out unlimited and unspecified Tens of Billions to the EU, for no apparent purpose, in the form of a ‘Divorce Settlement’, the National Debt will start ballooning again, or at best stagnate at its’ present unacceptable level.

    Interest Rates have now started to normalise and Quantitative Easing has stopped (probably for good) so things will, in any case, be much harder going from now on .

    Osborne and Cameron should have sorted out this deficit when they had the chance a few years ago, when the country was ready to make sacrifices and could remember who caused the deficit in the first place.

    Instead, we’ve had this ‘drip drip’ of alleged, ‘austerity’, whilst other countries, notably Ireland who faced a far worse crisis than us, grasped the nettle and made REAL cuts.

  89. Oggy
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    So Mrs May is upping her bribe to the EU protection racket just to get a so called ‘free’ trade deal. Disgusting and absolute madness – this charade has gone on long enough John. The whole scenario appears to being choreographed from behind the scenes (Brussels).
    I am appalled that TM and DD don’t have any backbone to stand up to these EU bandits. We voted to leave the EU, not for some huge fudge.
    The Tories under TM are heading for disaster, if we don’t get a proper Brexit, ie controlling our own laws, borders and money and NO ECJ, the Tories will be savaged at the next GE. But it seems they would prefer to have 15-20 years of Corbyn’s Venezuela type economics rather than leave the EU.

  90. miami.mode
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    According to reports, both May and Hammond have the skids under them so it matters not to them what we pay as long as they can go down in history as having done a deal to keep our EU trade safe.

  91. Beecee
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    So Mrs May has again blinked first and will increase our ‘divorce’ payment to £40Bn to get trade talks going.

    Has she had a detailed invoice from the EU? and if not will she get one? and if not, what is she buying with the money she is borrowing in order to do so?

    Mrs Thatcher would have walked away by now, and I think, Gordon Brown also!

    • miami.mode
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Bc…….what is she buying with the money………..

      Reminds me of the mock auctions they used to hold some years ago in seaside towns, “Who’ll give me £10 for this empty box?”

  92. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    How much lower will we descend into the depths of allowing this country to be totally shafted by this thuggish money grabbing EU dictatorship.

    Mrs May and her cabinet are a disgrace to the people and our pride in presenting a bulldog spirit against all adversities. they should all resign on block if this is the way they wish to operate,

    The politicians who have formed themselves into something akin to a fifth column ably supported by our national broadcaster and other forms of the media are acting in a manner that a few decades ago would have had their actions defined as treasonable are no longer fit to hold a position or any sort of office in Westminster.

    My only hope is that the rising wrath directed at these people will result in the population demanding that the swamp is totally drained and we get what we deserve people that really do believe in the sovereignty and the real future of these island and not condemn us to being lashed to this failing perceived money, power grabbing bloq as it slowly disintegrates dragging down everything with it.

  93. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been watching some Labour bloke saying how important it is that we keep the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

    Yes, this is the same charter that then Europe Minister Keith Vaz said had no more legal weight than the Beano, back in 2000:

    And the same charter from which we were supposed to have an opt-out when it was put into the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

    Yet here we have one of the same breed arguing that it is crucially important that we keep it in operation even after we leave the EU.

    • Hope
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Grieve has advocated for it as well.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink


  94. nigel seymour
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    J, I can only now think that Patrick Minford and Yanis Varoufakis should be listened to as they are perfectly right. Barnier was given a tick list (possibly by Merkel) who needs to tick every single box as he works through the negotiations. The perception now is that the UK are incapable of standing up to the EU and will steadily and surely capitulate to unelected bureaucrats. We are crying out for investment and funding in our public services and yet we can part with £40bn of our taxpayers money? To gain what?? . Surely the EU will take our money and taught us a salutary lesson in how to negotiate…Lets just trade on WTO and let the EU know this our aim.

  95. David Williams
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Confront the bully now or we will always be bullied.

  96. nigel seymour
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    “The UK must come forward with proposals aimed at avoiding a hard border in Ireland, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said.”
    NI has nothing to do with the EU and I agree the UK must sort this together with the UK/NI/RI. I don’t give a damn whether NI or the Rep decide to merge, put a referendum to them and let them decide NOT THE EU. The GFA was indeed a great outcome for everyone for these Isles but has nothing to do with the EU!!!!!!

    • lo
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Just copy the Gibralta-Spain border arrangements? Or is this the next ‘sticking point’?

  97. Edwardm
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for providing this key financial data on our contributions to the EU – it has been more expensive than I realised.
    I am staggered by the ungrateful and demanding attitude of the EU.

    Brexit is the self determined choice of the British people. We do not have to heed the EU’s ad-hoc pre-conditions to leave.
    If we are to have preconditions, then Mrs May should start from a position that the EU owes us money – for the non-delivery of CAP reform we require our rebate reduction be returned and we demand the EU to buy or pay rent on our share of the assets.
    I guess even most remainers never thought we’d pay to leave the EU.

    Now and never is the time for timid and frightened leaders.
    Mrs May’s continual appeasement of the EU has many negative consequences.
    Mrs Thatcher had election success because she stood up for the UK.

  98. Sue L
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Dear John

    I have often thought that the gross and net numbers have been understated by the amount contributed to the EU via customs revenues. I understand that some of our non-EU imports come into the UK indirectly (eg via Rotterdam and Antwerp) – and that duties are levied at the first point of entry into the EU and not when they are in-transit into the UK. This, I thought, was why such customs duties are so large when attributed to Belgium and the Netherlands relative to their populations.


  99. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Just in from the Daily Telegraph: “The Government may be ready to accept the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) post-Brexit, the Immigration Minister has signalled.”
    What on earth is going on? Is the government really just going to give the EU every thing it demands and taking us all for fools?

  100. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    “Inch by inch, the Conservatives are surrendering every one of their Brexit red lines”

    He never spoke a truer word.
    What are you going to do about it, Mr Redwood and Tory MPs?

    • Oggy
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 2:12 am | Permalink

      Aye, come back Nigel we need you. He wouldn’t capitulate.

  101. KZB
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I too have tried to look into the truth of the net contribution figures. I believe the VAT contribution is indeed included but the customs duty is often omitted.

    The duty is not “ours” because it is an EU border, not a UK border. However we get 20% of it back to cover collection costs.

    Bear in mind that import duties are a tax on UK consumers. It’s not come from the suppliers. This “gain” of £12bn is an increased tax on UK citizens. What is the real chance this will be given back in other tax cuts?

    • zorro
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, this revenue stream from the CET goes largely to the EU mainly because we are such a big market for goods from outside the EU…..


  102. zorro
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    One of the reasons why May will have to leave is that she will be seen as an easy touch and other nations would feel emboldened to ask for sweeteners for trade deals after seeing her craven attitude on display here….


    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 21, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Dithering has metamorphosed into blind panic…
      Time to GO.

  103. John
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t going to comment given the vast number already vetted but on the subject of EU court jurisdiction.

    Whilst on the face of it I’m not bothered what law EU immigrants subject to I can see it would have a tangible discriminatory influence.

    If someone asked you to give advice as a professional in an area say, pension, tax, death benefits, divorce, employment rights etc etc etc then you would happily give paid advice to a customer here in the UK. However, if they are potentially subject to EU ECJ then I would not touch them.

    I suspect in practice that many UK professions wouldn’t either. When UK law or regulation is changed provision is made for existing situations such as not applying retrospective or a period of implementation. The immigrants won’t be in the consideration of drafting ECJ law and so a UK professional adviser may see that as a huge risk.

    With risk comes liability insurance and so giving advice to EU immigrants having access to 2 sets of laws not a feasible option.

    The ECJ thing applying to EU immigrants is a waste of time and money that will in the end have to be reversed and gotten rid off.

  104. Freeborn John
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Is there no end to the concessions that surrender monkey May will make? Today we have news she will agree to ECJ juridisction for EU citizens who will have more rights in the Uk than British citizens. I cannot understand why Tory MPs do not unseat her immediately. The more the EU demands the more she gives them so far in return for not a single concession on their side. Germany is demanding “unilateral surrender” and the worst prime minster in British history is doing exactly that. You have to remove her.

  105. Chris S
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been struggling to decide whether Mrs May should be allowed to continue in office or not.

    The whole government is looking weak but this has a lot to do with the total intransigence displayed by Brussels in the negotiations. Mrs Thatcher would never have put up with the treatment metered out to David Davis and Mrs May over the last six months.

    The utter failure to counter Brussels propaganda and the pounding the PM constantly gets from Remainers go unchallenged and just adds to the impression of weakness. However, is there an alternative leader who is credible and who would do any better ?

    It obviously can’t be Boris or Hammond, Rudd would certainly be worst and has too slender a majority, and I have a few nagging doubts about David Davis.

    The only member of the current cabinet that come to mind is Gove.
    Looking outside the cabinet, Bernard Jenkins has the right persona but although he’s currently outside parliament as an MEP, I would skip a generation and go straight for Dan Hannan.

    But could anyone be successfully installed in No 10 without another general election ?

    • rose
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      They can be installed in no 10 without a general election but not without an election first by Conservative MPs and then by the party membership. Difficult to cut that last bit out again as was done with Mrs May. The Parliamentary party would be unlikely to start a contest at the moment.

  106. Chris
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    If true, pathetic. Laura Kuenssberg tweet:
    Sounds like govt folding on amendment in Commons to avoid defeat on Brexit bill tonight on human rights amendment – Tory rebels claiming important concession

  107. Dennis Perrin
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Quite so.

  108. Teletubby
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 2:01 am | Permalink
    • Teletubby
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      But I don’t want to buy BBC., anymore than I want cornflakes stuffed down my throat and charged a massive 40p per day. It is Fake News! I want boiled eggs, porridge, toast, bacon,eggs, etc for what I pay my grocer ( Service Provider ). How much does the World pay for BBC world service?

  109. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Looking at the number of comments you have on this subject it is obvious people care deeply about it and are not happy with the government’s proposals. Why don’t our governments seem to care about what the electorate think anymore?

  • 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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