“THERE are lies, damned lies and statistics”... and Lib-Dem spin-doctors!
Stephen Hardy uses his Lib-Dem led government’s imaginative tax-payer’s pie-chart to desperately defend the indefensible with his astonishingly naive and misleading claim that Britain’s massive EU contributions come from income tax alone: “an ‘average’ worker on £25,000 (really?) pays just £28 to the EU” (letters 30/3/12).
30m income tax payers paying £28 each = £840m. That’s well short of the £5,000m nett payment (£166 each) the Libs-Dems have long claimed!
Stephen knows that EU contributions are not derived from income tax, but are a percentage of our GDP and VAT, collected by Customs & Excise who also collect tariffs on non-EU imports (paid gross by you and I) which go direct to the EU. The EU graciously allows recovery of those costs incurred by our taxpayer funded tax collectors - but we taxpayers see none of this ‘free’ EU rebate, so enthusiastically espoused by Stephen. Rebates are spent as the EU dictates!
The more Britain works and imports, the more the EU takes; we are the second largest nett contributor to the EU budget! These levies are primarily raised on products and services through the EU’s Value Added Tax. If you ‘add value’ (a restaurant meal or cold meat pie served hot), it is liable to VAT. Add up all the import tariffs and VAT paid by our ‘£25,000 taxpayer’, and his personal payment to the EU is around £200 p/a - not £28! QED.
Stephen failed to mention Tony Blair surrendering Britain’s unique EU rebate and voluntarily increasing Britain’s contributions by £6bn (that’s £200 per UK income taxpayer) to nearly £20bn gross today, with greatly reduced rebates. Stephen failed to mention an unexpected £1.8bn shortfall (£60 per taxpayer) on our EU payments last year, quietly announced by his Lib-Cons on Budget Day!
Britain’s EU payments/receipts are on the HM Treasury, HMRC, NOS and EU Eurostat websites, carefully hidden and not easily assimilated. Seek and ye shall find. Ask a Europhile Lib-Dem, and the wool will be pulled over your eyes!
Stephen’s ‘EU myth-buster’ is well and truly zapped!
Barry M Jones