YOUR LETTERS: False claims about benefits of leaving EU

Andrew Bowell
Andrew Bowell

I have read with interest your article with the headline: ‘Hundreds expressed support for Vote Leave campaign on Take Control Day’.

This article is full of false claims by Out campaigner Craig Jackson and I would like to set the record straight:

1. His article states that “new laws and regulations are imposed upon us by the unelected and unaccountable European Commission.” This is FALSE. The directly elected European Parliament has to approve all EU legislation, together with the Council (the governments of the 28 EU countries). So unelected officials do not make the EU Laws. We elect MEP’s from the UK to vote on these matters and then they have to be agreed by the UK government before they become EU law.

2. His article implies that EU migrants are a drain on the economy. Between 2001 and 2011 EU migrants contributed over £20bn to the UK economy, and EU migrants contribute more to the UK exchequer in taxes than they claim in benefits.

3. His article says “In 5 years Turkey, Albania and the countries of the former Yugoslavia will be joining the EU, and an extra 100 million people will be allowed to live and work in the UK.” This is FALSE. There are currently only five candidate countries for EU accession – Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Together the total population of these countries is 92.3 million, which is approx 8% less than quoted in your article.

The article then summises what will happen if 10% came to UK. Where does the figure of 10% come from? Let us look at the facts:

In 2013 450,000 EU nationals came to live in the UK, whilst 183,000 UK nationals emigrated to live in the EU. Making a net immigration figure of 267,000. With the EU total population of 503 million inhabitants, the net figure for immigration is 0.2%. So where does the 10% figure come from?

4. Mr Jackson’s article states that the UK has no trade deals with China and India or our Commonwealth partners. Again this is FALSE. In October 2015 David Cameron announced trade deals of up to £40 billion with China. Then in November 2015 David Cameron again signed trade deals with India worth £9 billion. Canada and India are currently in negotiations with the EU for free trade deals, and 12 Carribean Commonwealth countries together with South Africa already have free trade agreements with the EU. As these countries are already negotiating with the EU, why would we want to start negotiations all over again?

5. The article states that UK trade with the EU is shrinking. Again this is FALSE. Eurostat statistics show the seasonally adjusted value of monthly total exports of goods for EU-28 Member States to other Member States. In 2002 and 2003 the level of exports of goods was fairly stable, followed by a period of rapid increase between 2004 and the third quarter of 2008. From the fourth quarter of 2008 to the end of the second quarter of 2009 there was a sharp decrease in the value of exports of goods. Following this decline the value of exports of goods began to increase again until the beginning of 2011, when it had returned to the level seen before the decrease at the end of 2008. From 2011 onwards the level has been relatively stable and the seasonally adjusted annual value for 2013 is over EUR 2 800 billion.