My New Year Resolution...

My New Year resolution is to speak out on one of the most important issues affecting all of us, not just in Droitwich and Worcestershire, but in the whole country – our relationship with the European Union, writes Peter Luff MP.

A dangerous view is developing that we would be “better off out”. This is nonsense and it’s time for the sane voices to start speaking up. The jobs, influence and peace the EU has brought to the UK and to Europe are real and tangible. The current Eurozone problems would affect us whether or not we were in the EU – but thank heavens we stayed out of the Euro ourselves.

In a recent survey the three main reasons for disillusion with the EU were immigration, the budget and human rights legislation. Let’s take them in turn.

People have a point on immigration – the Labour party has now apologised for not introducing the same controls as the rest of Europe at the time of the big eastwards enlargement. The very sudden influx was not the EU’s fault – it was the last government’s.

On the budget, current estimates suggest that our net contribution (the difference between what we pay in and what we get back) in 2012 will have been around £8 billion, which sounds a lot of money. But in the same year we will have spent over £200 billion on welfare payments, over £90 billion on education and around £110 billion on the NHS. So the total cost of the Welfare State last year will be about £400 billion – and expenditure on the EU is around 2% of that.

Finally, human rights laws are absolutely nothing to do with the EU – they are the result of a totally separate institution called the Council of Europe.

It’s time to start busting the myths and reminding the country which side our bread is really buttered on.


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