EU Economics

‘Britain is Europe’s £176billion cashpoint’ says former Cabinet minister

BRITAIN has given almost £176billion to the EU and will become a “bottomless cash machine” unless we leave, a former Cabinet minister said last night.

GETTY    Britain has given £176billion to the EU

The UK’s gross contribution to the European Union has topped £491billion since the country joined the Common Market in 1973. After the rebate and other deductions, the net contribution of £175.8billion is enough to pay off Britain’s £74billion deficit more than twice over.

But former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox said instead much has gone to “bridges in Greece and roads in Spain”. Dr Fox said the money had disappeared into the “black hole of Brussels” and would have been better spent on Britain’s priorities, including education and health care.

He spoke out after details of British payments to Europe were published by the House of Commons Library. Dr Fox said: “I think these figures show what a one-way bet our membership of the European Union has been for everyone else.

“£175billion of British taxpayers’ money has gone into the black hole of Brussels and never re-emerged.

“It’s a huge amount of money and we could have invested that in better health care, in better education, in more defence, but instead it has just disappeared into bridges in Greece and roads in Spain.”

He also warned that if Britain remains part of the EU it will be forced to pay more to help support the failing eurozone. He said: “If we vote to stay, the one thing we can be sure of is that we will get lots more of the same.


GETTY   The sum would be enough to pay off Britain’s deficit twice

 “If we give up our once in a generation chance to leave then Britain will be looked upon as a great bottomless cash machine for the rest of Europe. What most people don’t understand is that although we stayed out of the euro, we still have to pay for its failure because our budgetary contribution is linked to how well our economy is doing compared to other economies in the European Union.

“So the more theirs is flat because of the euro and the more ours is successful because we are more outward looking, the bigger our contribution becomes, so we are being penalised for a project from which we purposefully stayed out of because we predicted that it would fail. That is the bizarre twisted logic of Euroland.”

Dr Fox also said that a vote to remain will be taken as a “green light from the old men of Brussels that they don’t have to change course”.

Liam Fox

GETTY    Liam Fox criticised British money being being spent on the EU


He added: “That for me takes us into a terrifying vision of the future because the Europe that we see around us today is the Europe of fences and barbed wire, of mass youth unemployment and migration.

“We have witnessed a generation of young Europeans being sacrificed on the alter of the single currency with their hopes of ever achieving prosperity cruelly taken away from them.

“That cannot come without consequences. We are now not only seeing people from eastern Europe coming to Britain as economic migrants; we are seeing increasing numbers of young Spaniards, Greeks and Portuguese coming to Britain as a result of the failed policies of the eurozone.”


GETTY   The European Union spends money on things like infrastructure projects in Greece and Spain

In a veiled warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor George Osborne, he said: “The fact is that after the 23rd of June, we will still be the majority party in the House of Commons and still have to govern the country until 2020.

“With 10 weeks to go to the referendum, I would advise my colleagues that how easy or how hard that will be will depend on how well we treat one another in this period. There needs to be a sense of fairness and of mutual respect and of tolerance.”

However, Dr Fox did not rule out David Cameron remaining prime minister. He said: “I think we will have a period where we will be able to digest the result before we go to our European colleagues and say we now want to begin the process of leaving.”

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