07 - 06
There are those who complain that we pay £350 million to Brussels every week, and that we could spend the money better here, especially on more schools and the health service.
In principle, the UK pays to the European budget one per cent of GDP in a full year. But to see the true picture, we get back over 50 per cent of that amount in the shape of the rebate of £75 million, and what the EU spends in the UK in support of farmers, regional development and university research in particular.
In 2014 the European expenditure in the UK amounted to £175 million per week. That left a net contribution by the UK to the EU budget of £100 million per week.
Outside the EU we would have the freedom in theory to spend the money we pay to Brussels, except for the rebate which would not come back as we would not be paying in, in other ways. Whether we would want to reduce farm support, university research or help for our regions in favour for example of the NHS would be a matter of intense political debate. And if we wanted at some stage to resume business in Europe we would probably have to make payments to Brussels as Norway does.