My contribution to the EU Budget – the best tenner I ever spent

My annual tax report for the year 2017-18 arrived the other day.

It outlined to me what I get for the relatively low tax I pay every month.

The last item on the breakdown broke my heart.

“Contribution to the EU Budget – £10”

That’s all it costs.

For that I get:

Freedom to work and travel and live in 28 countries

The prosperity that being in the customs union and single market brings, with the added advantage that showing up with 27 of your mates when you are trying to do business with the likes of Donald Trump and the Chinese Government brings.

This country’s universities getting access to research funding to carry out investigations which will help us to learn more about how the world works and develop ways to fix its problems.

My son having the chance to study anywhere across the EU via the Erasmus programme

Joint arrangements on radioactive isotopes and the like through Euratom

Co-operation on security across the 28 member states

Protection of my employment rights, keeping me safe from the right wing small state instincts of most of the politicians who campaigned for Brexit. 

Free data-roaming across Europe.

Being part of a project hat keeps the peace on this continent and promotes human rights and democracy across the planet.

Development of poorer areas. For example, the EU has funded the building of roads which are a lifeline in the Highlands.

There’s so much more. But it cost me, personally, £10 for the whole year. You can’t buy two glasses of wine for that in Edinburgh. It’s  less than a seventh of what I pay the Liberal Democrats and, much as I love this party and the way it performs miracles with insufficient resources, I can’t say that it brings me quite as much value for money.

I’m not quite sure what I paid for the Home Office. I suspect it is somewhere in the £59 for “Public order and safety.” You can take it as read that I resent every single penny that goes to an organisation that treats people with extreme unfairness and causes untold misery on a daily basis. Today’s egregious heartlessness involves splitting up a grandmother from the rest of her family.

My general take home from my tax report is that I get a lot for very little. £275 for health care for the year. In the US, even with Obamacare, I’d be paying around $4000 and that wouldn’t even cover the entire cost of any medical treatment.

I’m sure the Tories’ whole idea behind putting out these reports was to make people annoyed at shelling out for people on benefits.

Personally, I’d be happy to pay much more than £328 per year if it meant that people had somewhere decent to live and could feed themselves.

Looking at the report, and knowing the perilous state of our public services, it actually makes me think that I, even with my relatively low income, should be paying more in tax if I want to see the end of poverty and inequality. But that’s a whole other conversation.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Allan Heron 10th Feb '19 - 4:39pm

    I feel ripped off – my contribution was £11 😉

  • chris moore 10th Feb '19 - 5:08pm

    That £10 will go to the NHS now.

    Enough to buy some anti-depressants (off-patent); so we feel better.

  • David Allen 10th Feb '19 - 5:32pm

    Well here’s a plan I think might rescue us from Brexit:

    As the article explains, it’s a compromise which might actually win a Parliamentary vote, because nobody except ERG and DUP would have lost badly. May would have got parliamentary approval for her Deal. Labour / Lib Dems would also have got a commitment to a second referendum, which could either confirm May’s Deal or else decide to Remain in the EU. I think that’s a great idea which we should get behind.

  • David Becket 10th Feb '19 - 5:48pm

    @ David Allen
    Yes we must back this, it is the only way out (Are you listening Vince ?)

    If leave wins at least it it is not as bad as no deal, if Remain wins we have to address the issues that tempted so many to support leave.

  • Tony Greaves 10th Feb '19 - 5:49pm

    It’s been the objective for quite a lot of anti-Brexit people for quite some time.

  • John Marriott 10th Feb '19 - 6:49pm

    Just awaiting the next round of Peter Martin v ‘frankie’, (aka ‘tis’ and ‘was’) – a bit obscure, I know; by the way that first word should read ‘t’is’, I believe). Let’s not forget the historical references from Messrs Bourke and ‘Michael 1’. I wonder whether they get any ‘flood alerts’, like me? Or, are we FINALLY running out of angles on Brexit?

  • John Marriott 10th Feb '19 - 6:56pm

    Sorry, ‘frankie’, you’re not the only one having trouble with apostrophes. That ‘t’is’ should have read ‘ ‘Tis ‘, bless!

  • Paul Barker 10th Feb '19 - 7:17pm

    I can see a problem with the plan mentioned by David Allen. If passed, it simply means that the HoC has asked for a Referendum, only The Government can draft legislation to actually hold the Vote. Suppose May gets her deal then does nothing about a Referendum? Or suppose legislation is proposed but not passed ? We still get Brexit, but no Referendum.
    Perhaps I have missed something ? I hope so.

  • David Allen 10th Feb '19 - 7:24pm

    I’m wondering whether perhaps Tony Greaves has missed the point of the backbencher plan. Yes, a People’s Vote has long been an objective of many anti-Brexit people. But it has also been indignantly repudiated by the mainstream Tories, who have bet their farm on achieving a Brexit deal, and would lose a tremendous amount of face if they gave up that ambition. Well, with the backbench proposal, they don’t have to. Indeed, the proposal is that hordes of non-Tory backbenchers agree to vote through Theresa May’s deal, taking No Deal off the table and enabling Theresa to smail triumphantly while shaking hands with Juncker.

    Then Part 2 of the backbench proposal kicks in. Article 50 gets deferred for long enough to enable the UK to hold the second referendum which Parliament has (within the backbench proposal) voted to hold. Theresa May, who is brilliant at eating her words, eats the words which talked about not holding another referendum, and says that it’s perfectly reasonable to ask the great British public to vote in validation of the great Deal she has just made with the EU.

    Of course, if the vote instead comes out for Remain, she has to change her explanation yet again – but, probably in the context that the nation has spoken and has put an end to the great Brexit Nightmare, and there are a lot of people ready to dance in the streets and tell Theresa how pleased they are. So the Tories stay in power (which is all they really want), and we lose Brexit (which is most of what we ought to want!)

  • David Allen 10th Feb '19 - 7:30pm

    Paul Barker – Valid concerns. I guess the backbenchers need to demand that Govt drafts and passes emergency legislation, enshrining the commitment to a referendum, PDQ, and certainly before or in parallel with the vote in favour of May’s Brexit deal. Is that workable? Hopefully some constitutional expert can tell us!

    These experts do exist, I gather they burnt a lot of midnight oil making sure Yvette Cooper’s amendment would achieve what it set out to. Time to burn more of that midnight oil?

  • @David Allen and @Paul Barker – according to the article you have cited, Dominic Grieve is amongst the supporters of this backbenchers’ plan (to approve May’s deal subject to a ratification referendum) … so I expect that he will help to ensure that it’s legally watertight, as the Cooper amendment (to extend Article 50) would have been if passed. Given Vince’s previous statements hinting at such an approach, this plan will presumably be supported by all (remaining) Lib Dem MPs – as as well as other cross-party pro-Remain/PV allies. In order to pass, however, it would clearly also need the votes of ‘soft Brexiteer’ MPs and the support (however grudging) of either the Labour or Tory frontbench … which are still very high hurdles to overcome!

  • But Caron you don’t understand. Without that £10 Boris can’t buy you a unicorn.

  • Nigel Jones 11th Feb '19 - 3:12pm

    The idea in this proposed amendment is nothing new to us, but it looks a good tactic to unlock the current crisis in Parliament and avoid the process going the other way into a choice between the withdrawal agreement or a ‘no deal’. Given the view across the house that a no deal must be avoided, it is still questionable whether enough parliamentarians will see this as a more likely way to avoid a no deal, rather than finding enough of them to change their minds and support Theresa May’s deal.

  • Nigel Jones 11th Feb '19 - 4:00pm

    I like Caron’s positive way of addressing our relationship with the EU. For too long our party messages have simply been putting the downside of Brexit, rather than using positive language. The cost of being in the EU is of course more than just money; it means abiding by lost of tiny rules, particularly to get the benefits of a level playing field for business. This cost in terms of EU rules is similarly not as great as many imagine.
    According to the house of commons library a couple of years ago, 87% of our laws are made in our Parliament and not influenced by the EU. So the cost in terms of our dependence or independence of the EU has been grossly exaggerated.

  • Andrew Tampion 13th Feb '19 - 6:12pm

    I’m afraid this article is a best highly misleading, no doubt unintentionally.
    The UK net contribution to the EU budget in 2017 was £8.9 billion and the UK population in 2017 was just under 66 million. If you divide 8,900,000,000 by 66,000,000 the result is £134. So if Caron really was only paying £10 for all the benefits she lists then some one else is making up the difference.
    But Caron is almost certainly paying more because the £10 only includes Income Tax and National Insurance whereas Caron probably pays other taxes. For example VAT. For every £1000 spent on VATable goods or services £200 is VAT. The EU net contribution is just over 1% of the UK total budget then for every £1000 spent on VATable goods and services £2 goes to the EU.
    Cancel the Bus.
    But the more fundamental objection is what this article is saying if you support the UKs membership of the EU then it’s a good deal. Which is at best oxymoronic.

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