EU’s not worth it

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Andrew Arbuckle (Farming, 17 November) presented a scathing account of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), describing it as mountain after mountain of “complexity and downright ­absurdity”.

The complaint is a familiar one: Brussels keeps churning out regulations, forcing our farmers to spend much of their time on bureaucracy instead of farming.

They have no choice because Brussels controls the flow of subsidy on which they now depend.

There was a similar scathing account of the EU fishing policy recently.

The UK contribution for 2013 was £12 billion. Brussels is now in charge of contributions from 28 countries and yet its own administrative accounts have not been signed off by any accountant for many years.

The huge salaries of EU officials dwarf the salaries of the UK government. Is EU membership really worth all that?

Second, there is the effect that EU open-door immigration policy is having. UK population has increased by five million since 2001 and all our public services are stretched to breaking point because of the overload. Some employers are glad of cheap labour, but their profits hardly compensate for the overload.

In an attempt to control burgeoning public spending, the government has cut services but the total bill keeps going up ­because of the increasing numbers of people using them.

The UK cannot afford to continue with the EU open door policy. To make matters worse, the UK is being drained of billions of pounds of tax income because its neighbours in the EU are ­acting as tax havens for UK companies that want to dodge UK corporation tax.

Instead of unthinking ­allegiance to the EU, we should assess critically the pros and cons of membership.

It may have served us well in the past, but now it is too big, too authoritarian and too expensive. Leaving the EU would restore our independence and allow us to trade freely in the world without EU tariffs.

And we would also trade with the EU itself in the same way that other non-EU countries like Norway and Switzerland do.

The referendum on EU membership gives us an excellent ­opportunity to critically re-evaluate its worth and to leave the EU if we conclude that it is not fit for purpose.

Les Reid

Morton Street

Edinburgh

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