Bang for your buck. Or not!

Negotiations on the United Kingdoms withdrawal from the European Union have been hindered and delayed, in part due to the Tory government's terrible handling of the negotiations. The decision not to discuss trade arrangements until after divorce terms was a seismic error. But the primary reason for the slow pace is due to Brussels unwillingness to advance negotiations until the United Kingdom has agreed to a divorce settlement. That’s right; Brussels wants more of our money.

Figures from £10 Billion to £120Billion have been bounded around like spare change. President Juncker wants us to pay our bar tab, and his, and everybody else’s. Labour Leave has consistently argued that the United Kingdom should honor its budgetary commitments to the end of this budget cycle. This is reasonable and honorable. The United Kingdom is a great country and it keeps its word and if we have made commitments we should meet them. But to pay for President Juncker's many bottles of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Donald Tusks four thousand bottles of Champagne is totally unacceptable.

Media attention in the United Kingdom has continued to focus on how awful everything is as a result of Brexit. We must not forget that folks - everything, and I mean everything that goes wrong in this country, from congestion on the M25 to Granny getting her wrong prescriptions from the pharmacy is because of Brexit. Brexit is terrible and we reprehensible bunch of bigoted Brexiteers are to blame for all the woes and wants of our time, times gone by and times to come.  Everything is our fault.

But turning away from the doom and gloom for a second, this weekend, Alexander Stubb, the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank has popped up in the media. He has announced that Billions of Euros of British taxpayers money could remain stuck in the accounts for over more than thirty years after the UK has left the European Union. Hang on a minute mate, this doesn’t seem right to me.

The United Kingdom has a 16% share in the European Investment Bank. This amounts to a £3.1billion capital account, and a House of Lords report has assessed that the total value once reserves and profits are included could amount to up to £8.9Billion. The European Investment Bank, “represents the interests of the European Union member states.” So once we leave the European Union its Investment Bank will continue to do so, but with our money? Who do you think you’re kidding Mr Subb?

The Investment Bank was founded in 1958 does not typically lend to countries outside of the European Union. It is therefore possible that once we leave in March 2019, the Bank will continue to lend our money to EU member states and we may not get this money paid back to the UK until 2054. The British government has refused to give a running commentary on the negotiations but has said it is looking to secure a financial settlement. So Mr Juncker, even after the UK has left the party you want us to pick up the tab? What are friends for, eh?

Public Services in the United Kingdom are being starved of the resources they need. Some of the poorest in our society are suffering as a result of the government’s welfare changes. The NHS is facing yet another winter crisis and pensioners will once again be choosing between eating and heating this winter. Our Defence capacity is weakening and our national infrastructure is crumbling. The Billions of British taxpayers money sitting in Luxemburg could put to very good use here in the UK fixing the many problems we face. Labour Leave calls on the government to get our money back.

For too long the narrative on Brexit has focused on what the UK stands to lose as a result of Brexit. What does no deal look like for the UK? How much will the UK have to pay? Will the UK be able to trade? Hang on just a minute, isn’t it time we started flexing our political muscles and asking what a No Deal looks like for the EU? Isn’t it time we started asking how much Brussels needs pay us? Our money in the Investment Bank might be a starter for ten, and not to mention the Billions of pounds we pay in membership each year.

Mr Juncker wants us to pay our Bill at the bar. If Vice-President Stubb is right it looks as though we’re going to paying Junckers Bill, and everybody else’s tab for some years to come. Cheers Junck. 

 

By Brendan Chilton

Labour Leave will campaign to achieve a fair deal from Brexit negotiations. We recognise the will of the UK public and will hold the government and the Labour Party to account.

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