The £350 Million per Week Debate

I watched Mr Gove tonight on Sky News and was a little surprised at the reaction to the question asking him to explain the claim that £350 million a week is sent to the EU.

It would appear that this has touched a raw nerve with the electorate. After all, this number has been disputed and ridiculed by a large number of people on both sides of the argument.

So, I thought I might offer some words to hopefully clear up some of the ambiguity. First and foremost it is true that this is a gross figure. In a word that means it is the amount that we commit to up front. We receive a rebate on this and a portion of this money is also spent back in the UK on various subsidies such as farming. The nett figure is around half of the headline number and this is the amount that is left to pay after the numbers are adjusted.

It is true that if Brexit would have quoted the figure at £175 million per day then it would not be questioned now and would not be an issue. As Brexit have quoted the higher figure then it has created some distrust and this is unfortunate because the lower figure is not a true reflection of the cost. The rebate that we receive is not a given right and there are 27 countries in the EU that have to agree that we should carry on receiving it, only a fool would believe that it will always be there. And the money that is spent in the UK is also negotiable and we have no choice on where it is spent.

The best way I can think to describe it is that I am your energy supplier and I am going to charge you £350 a month for your energy. I will give you a monthly rebate of, say, £75 but I get to decide how long I will keep giving you the discount and how much I will give you. Your actual energy bill is £175 a month so I still have £100 of your money and I choose to give it to someone to come and clean you house for you. You have no say in what I spend it on but I have decided what is best for you. Oh, and next month I might decide that I am not going to pay for your cleaner anymore.

On this basis you are paying a gross amount of £350 but as the net amount is only £175 a month you should be grateful…

This is the difference between the numbers that Brexit have been touting and the numbers that people think they should of used. You make you own mind up, are you giving me £350 a month or is it only £175?

 

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