The Daily Express front-page article on Britain’s net contribution to the European Union contains several misconstrued statistics if not outright lies designed to reinforce their readers’ anti-EU prejudices.
Among the misleading assertions in the report is the line in the fourth paragraph that states as fact that “Britain gets the least back from Brussels of all the 27 EU nations” – a ‘fact’ debunked in the penultimate paragraph of the very same article, a sentence of which reads “Britain is now second only to Germany when it comes to net losses to Brussels.”
There is also no mention of the benefits of European Union membership, political as well as financial – though not always immedaitely quantifiable; one is left to conclude that each family is throwing £257 down the drain, that the country will write a blank cheque for £6.2 billion to Brussels this year and get nothing in return.
According to the United Kingdom Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as of 2003 alone:-
• EU GDP (1993-2003) was £588 billion higher due to the Single Market – an extra £3,819 per household
• Three million British jobs were linked to exports to the EU – one tenth of the workforce
• Sixty million customs clearance documents no longer needed to be completed – reducing bureaucracy, costs and time
• There is greater choice and lower prices due to deregulation of the UK optical sector
• Books cost less and there are more titles following the ending of the Net Book Agreement
• The price of replica football kits has decreased dramatically after an EU investigation into price-fixing
The benefits of membership can only have increased in the subsequent six years – data for which will be made available in due course – and will continue to increase upon Europe-wide ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, as it did following adoption of the Treaty of Accession, which grew the Market to the east.
Far from being a ‘sell-out’, membership of the European Union has resulted in funding for thousands of projects in many of the most deprived areas of Britain, rebuilding communities, creating jobs and boosting economies, all for the relatively modest sum of £6.2bn.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.