Let us cut to the chase: the Leave campaign does not have any credible economic arguments on its side. The only fiscal card up their sleeve is recovering cost of EU membership, a net contribution of £8.5 billion.
However, the UK government spent £673 billion last year. That works out at about 1.3% of total expenditure was the country’s final bill for EU membership.
To you and I these numbers represent a serious amount of cash — a bewildering amount in fact. So what if we worked in a scale more representative of the average UK worker? According to the ONS the median average annual income is £27,600. And 1.3% of that average income is £359.
That is a nice sum of money and I think it fair to say that we’d all be pretty happy to receive an extra few hundred pounds. Yet it is clear that it is not a life-changing amount of money; it’s not even £1 per day.
Everyone would be very happy if the Chancellor had an extra £8.5 billion in the bank to reverse some of the painful austerity measures, and invest in education and health. This fee is not like an unused gym membership, there are permanent trade and regulatory benefits all year round.
I would urge everyone to watch Professor Michael Dougan talk about the way the EU trade works and its benefits to our economy.