Letters: Lies, damned lies and the Brexiters’ statistics

PUBLISHED: 10:35 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:59 27 November 2017

Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

2016 Getty Images

Just like so much of Rees-Mogg’s thinking, the ‘EU will go bust’ trope is based on no facts whatsoever, writes The New European reader Ben Porter.

As spouted by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the latest Brexiteer claim is that the EU will go bankrupt if Britain walks away without a deal and that therefore we should play hardball in negotiations.

After rebates and other receipts from the EU are deducted, the UK’s contribution to the UK from Brexit day to the end of 2020 would be 25.36bn euros.

As the former UK negotiator Steve Bullock has pointed out, the EU has cash reserves of over 28.5bn euros. Theoretically, they could use this to plug Britain’s gap even without cutting budgets or asking the 27 remaining member states to pay more.

But what if the reserves did not exist? The 25.36bn euros UK contribution works out to be just over 0.1% of the EU’s total GDP.

With EU growth currently at 2.3%, it would take less than a month of growth for the 27 other EU countries to recoup what they lose from Britain.

In common with so much of Rees-Mogg’s thinking, the ‘EU will go bust’ trope is based on no facts whatsoever.

Ben Porter, London

There has been much Brexiter talk about how the EU will be stuffed without the UK budget contribution. I would like to ask why our politicians cannot add up.

Michel Barnier has said the UK cannot rely on bank passporting being available after Brexit. At present the UK government receives around £45 billion in tax revenue from the international banks; and at present the UK pays around £12 billion a year to the EU.

If the EU restrict the banks’ access via the UK once we have left the EU, then they only need to take on about a quarter of the City of London’s banking business to plug the hole in their finances caused by Brexit and to avoid the pressure UK Brexiters feel our negotiators can wield. Simples. I suspect Barnier has a calculator in his pocket, whereas David Davis has lost the abacus as well as the respect for parliament that used to be his strongest characteristic.

Paul Ricketts, Yatesbury

The parliamentary debates on the EU Withdrawal Bill have exposed a further Brexiter lie that is rarely challenged. This is to equate the ‘Henry VIII powers’ in the EU withdrawal bill with the EU decision-making process.

In fact, any new laws which are proposed by the European Commission have to be approved by both the European Parliament (to which we elect MEPs) and the Council (ie the governments of the EU countries, of which we are one).

Yet people like Priti Patel and Bernard Jenkin continue to peddle the lie that the EU somehow imposes laws on us without any democratic scrutiny. I have never heard the BBC (or indeed any other news organisation) actually pick them up on this. Therefore, it is not surprising that the majority of the population remains ignorant of how the EU operates.

Until the BBC starts doing its job of informing and educating, people’s views will continue to be coloured by false information, leading to the kind of bad decision making we have been witnessing.

Michael Williams

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