£156, not £350 million!

Treasury figures have confirmed that, in the year to March 2017, our contribution to the EU was £156m a week. This is less than half, 44.5% to be exact, of the £350m figure loudly boasted on the side of Vote Leave’s infamous battle bus in last year’s Referendum campaign.

The facts are that our gross contribution was £325 million a week, but before the money was sent to the EU our rebate was deducted. Once you factor in the EU’s payments to us, something Vote Leave seemed to forget about, we paid £156 million a week.

This is a small percentage of our national GDP: once you consider all the benefits we get in trade, travel, education opportunities, and in working collaborative on issues such as the environment and workers’ rights, it seems to be a very good deal indeed to me.

The Brexit deal we are looking at now seems likely to do only 2 things: cost us more and benefit us less.

I would like to see the full potential cost to our country of that ‘£350m’ lie calculated and billed to Messrs Gove and Johnson: see if they still want to pursue a hard Brexit then.