Data shows EU membership costs each British person 163 USD a year


LONDON, Nov. 2 — Britain contributed 25 billion U.S. dollars to
the European Union last year, but received billions of U.S. dollars back in
rebates and grants, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Tuesday.

ONS statisticians put the financial relationship between Britain and the EU
under the microscope, with the cost of membership continuing to be a major
talking point as the terms of Brexit are negotiated. But there is a
difference to what Britain says it pays, compared to what the EU insists
Britain contributed. Whatever the total amount sent to Brussels in 2016 it
is a fraction of the 1,076 billion U.S. dollars the British government
spent on all aspects of public spending, the ONS statistics show. ONS said
it has looked at the numbers using its own data that account for the UK’s
official transactions with EU institutions, as well as data from the
European Commission. It took the total amounts paid, and then subtracted
funds paid back to Britain under various EU rebate schemes.

ONS said a 6.64-billion-U.S.-dollar rebate from Brussels brought the net
payment to 18.5 billion U.S. dollars transferred to Brussels was not the
end of the story. The figures show that a further 5.8 billion U.S. dollars
came back to the British public sector and private sector in credits in
2016. That took Britain’s net contribution to the EU last year to 9.4
billion pounds, or 12.5 billion U.S. dollars — roughly half of the total
gross contribution it made. ONS said some have argued that there are other
payments that should be taken into account. Money from the EU also comes
back to the British private sector, for example to fund research in British
universities. ONS data does not separately identify direct flows from the
EU to the UK private sector.Using the latest available figures published by
the European Commission, Britain’s average annual net contribution to
Brussels for the years 2012 to 2016 was 8.1 billion pounds, or 10.75
billion U.S. dollars.

ONS says this figure is arguably a more complete picture of the money that
flows between Britain and the EU. Using that figure, ONS say it means
Britain’s membership of the EU bloc costs it 207 million U.S. dollars every
week, or 163 U.S. dollars a year for every man, woman and child in Britain.
And when the sums are added up it accounts for just one percent of the
total British government spending. – XINHUA