At a 6th form debate hosted by a large comprehensive school in Shropshire in October, ex-Tory MP and former UKIP candidate Christopher Gill proclaimed to his 100-strong audience:
Goebbels once said "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." The trouble is, this can work. A recent Radio 4 News broadcast featured Nigel Farage saying:
This '75%' is a very precise figure but luckily we know exactly where it comes from. In the BBC Radio 4 programme 'More or Less' on 15 August 2009 the UKIP leader was questioned on behalf of a listener and said that the source of the 75% figure was the President of the European Parliament. But here are Hans-Georg Pöttering's words:
Read again, carefully. There is no reference to the laws passed in Britain i.e. Farage's 'our laws'. Rather, the President was saying that the European Parliament is playing an increasing part in the EU legislative process.
Mr Farage's office quoted the think-tank Open Europe in defence. The Open Europe study says: -
"Importantly, this report does not provide an answer to the question of what proportion of all British laws havetheir origin in EU legislation."
Enter stage-right, Professor Tim Congdon. In his glossy 2012 56-page 'How much does the European Union cost Britain?' he quotes an 8-year old study which led opponents of the EU within Germany to claim that 84 per cent of German laws had their origins in the EU – a figure constantly re-quoted by, inter alia, Dan Hannan MEP. Now, Germany is a federation where most legislation regarding matters such as crime, health, education, welfare and social security is made at regional level. The figure of 84 per cent is wholly misleading because it was not calculated by including all German laws.
On the other hand the House of Commons Library* has calculated the percentage of secondary legislation in the UK that results from EU requirements.
"This figure has fluctuated between 8 and 10 per centin the last decade. This figure includes all instrumentsbeing implemented in the UK through the normalmethod of applying EU law – statutory instrumentsenacted under the European Communities Act 1972- but does not include primary legislation (i.e. Acts ofParliament) as they are rarely used to implement EUlaw, except in the fields of crime and justice."
So please, take your choice between a defected Tory ex-MP, representatives of a party which has never been elected to a Westminster seat, and an ex-professor who can't do maths correctly**
**The Congdon paper also includes the exceptional calculation that 'gross payments (by the UK) to the EU run at about £15.5bn to £16bn a year, which is roughly £50m a day'. Taking the middle figure, 15.75billion divided by 365
days = £43 million – an error of £7 million per day.
And that's being generous and erroneous.
In 2011 the gross UK contribution was £13.83bn or 10.6% of the total EU budget compared with a UK share of EU GNI @ 13.8%. The UK's contribution, at 0.79% of its GNI, was the lowest in the EU-27 – lower even than Bulgaria's 1.02% and far from Belgium's 1.31% (the highest). Its receipts were just
£6.6bn. (Figs from Giacomo Benedetto of Royal Holloway, London)
"To tackle a common misconception head on, the Balance of Competences Review is not designed as a prelude to cherry-picking the Treaties, or to British exit from the EU."
David Lidington MP
Follow our special series on the review all next week
"The Commission is aware that the reduced VAT rate (5%) for energy-saving materials has been linked to the UK's 'Green Deal' to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
"While it supports the objectives of the UK Green Deal, the Commission does not believe that breaking EU VAT rules will help in achieving these objectives."
0.1% and -3.7%: the Commission's forecasts (due out Fri) for France's growth and budget deficit in 2013 0.8% and 3%: the official French govt forecasts for the same
For 1,408 key employees in 10 London banks, cash payments in 2010 averaged £568,000 per year, but including expected payments (in cash and equity) brought their average pay to £2m. They earned £2.8bn – roughly six times more than the combined total pay of the CEOs of every company in the FTSE 100 (£470 million). cep.lse.ac.uk