A group of high profile Labour MPs have highlighted a series of austerity measures, perpetrated by George Osborne and David Cameron, that could have been avoided if we had kept the hundreds of millions we send to the EU every week.
When George Osborne introduced the bedroom tax, the cuts to social services, and the public sector pay freeze, he said it was necessary in order to get the economy back on track. Today's letter shows that this is not true and that in fact it is a matter of priorities. If we had been in control of the £350 million we spend on EU membership every week, all this could have been avoided.
Full text of the letter:
From 2010-2015 George Osborne and David Cameron imposed cuts to public spending that totalled £70 billion. The effect has been severe, and led to serious hardship in communities across the country.
The Labour Party has led the opposition to these cuts - highlighting the real harm that has been done to people’s lives, as well as damage to the economy.
In analysis published today we show that many of the harshest policies introduced as part of George Osborne and David Cameron’s austerity programme could have been avoided if the UK had been able to keep the money we currently send to the EU.
From 2010 to 2015 George Osborne and David Cameron made £70 billion of austerity cuts. Over the same period UK taxpayers paid £47 billion into EU coffers. This is the net figure, and does not include either our rebate or the money the EU spends on our behalf in the UK. That means that two thirds of George Osborne and David Cameron’s austerity cuts could have been avoided if we had been able to keep the money we give to the EU, and spend it at home instead.
Over the last Parliament we could have avoided:
- The hated Bedroom Tax, which saved £987 million or just 2% of our net EU contribution
- The cuts to adult social services, which saved £2.5 billion or 5.4% of our net EU contribution
- Cuts to the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, which saved £33 million or just 0.07% of our net EU contribution
- Cuts to flood defences, which saved £107 million or just 0.2% of net EU contribution
- Cuts to Legal Aid, which saved £874 million or 1.5% of our net EU contribution
- Cuts to public libraries, which saved £708 million or 1.5% of our net EU contribution
7. There would have been no need to privatise Royal Mail. This privatisation raised £3.3 billion equivalent to 7% of our net EU contribution
8. We could have avoided the public sector pay freeze, which saved £8 billion or 17% of our net EU contribution
All eight of these measures could have been avoided if we had retained just 35% of the money we gave to the EU over the same period.
If we vote to leave we can take back control of the money we send to the EU and spend it on our own priorities. Over the course of this Parliament our net contributions to Brussels are set to total almost £50 billion - think what we could do with that if we were able to take back control and spend it on our own priorities. Think about the changes we could make to improve the lives of people and communities across the UK.
It is time to take back control, and reclaim the right to spend our own money on the things that matter to us.
Gisela Stuart MP
Kate Hoey MP
Graham Stringer MP
John Mann MP