EU Expenditure – £350m per week

A few days ago on Question Time1 on the Michael Gove was asked “what billion are we talking about, is it a million million or a thousand million?”. He was not able to answer. This shows how numbers are bandied about with neither the person using them or the audience knowing what they mean.

One of the figures is the £350million a week that we spend on the EU. I am not going to explain why this figure is very misleading if not an outright lie since this has been done elsewhere but try to put such figures in context:

eu comparison

UK Government Expenditure per week3

So you can see that even this inflated figure is only a very small percentage of government expenditure – about 2.36%.

While we are here let us take a further look into how figures can be misleading. You will notice that we spend a massive amount on Social protection – pensions, unemployment benefit, housing benefit etc.

How much of that do we spend on the dole scroungers that many newspapers tell us about? Here is a breakdown taken from the Office of National Statistics4:

expenditure

 


1 BBC Question Time – EU Special: The Case for Leave, 15 June 2016 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07gsgrw/question-time-eu-special-the-case-for-leave)

2 Why Vote Leave’s £350m weekly EU cost claim is wrong, The Guardian, , 10 June 2016 (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2016/may/23/does-the-eu-really-cost-the-uk-350m-a-week)

3 Budget 2016, UK Government (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/508193/HMT_Budget_2016_Web_Accessible.pdf)

How is the welfare budget spent?, Office of National Statistics (http://visual.ons.gov.uk/welfare-spending/)

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2016/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2014&ey=2021&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=112&s=NGDP_R%2CNGDP_RPCH%2CNGDP%2CNGDPD%2CNGDP_D%2CNGDPRPC%2CNGDPPC%2CNGDPDPC%2CNGAP_NPGDP%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CPPPSH%2CPPPEX&grp=0&a=&pr.x=91&pr.y=9

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