Wednesday, 15 March 2017

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It must be true, it's on the internet...

Some interesting details on what was said prior to the referendum that led to a "majority" voting to exit Europe.  I wonder how people now feel?  As they say, "you make your bed..."

The UK opted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 after a campaign mired by scaremongering and the misuse of statistics.
Polls suggested a close race to the end, and Brexit ended up clinching victory with 51.9 per cent of the vote.
With conflicting facts thrown around by all sides in the campaign, The Telegraph teamed up with Full Fact to analyse and check the big claims of the campaign.
From the number of times the UK is outvoted on the continent, to the truth about our financial contribution to the EU, we aimed to debunk false claims and back up the truth.
This is now particularly important: some of these claims have helped swing the UK to Brexit, and now the country must face the consequences.

On the amount of money the UK gives to the EU

Verdict: Wrong

EU membership does come at a financial cost. The UK pays more into the EU budget than it gets back. But it's not £350 million a week.
The UK’s discount, or rebate, reduces what we would otherwise be liable to pay.
In 2015, we paid the EU an estimated £13 billion, or £250 million a week.
Some of that money came back in EU payments funnelled through the government, so the government’s ‘net contribution’ was around £8.5 billion, or £160 million a week. The EU also spends money directly – in grants to British researchers, for instance.

On the UK's economy and the EU

Verdict: Hard to say

Most economists seem to agree that leaving the EU will cost the UK economically. 
But the £4,300 figure is an unhelpful summary of the research done by the Treasury's economists. It supposes that we end up with an EU agreement like Canada, which allows for fairly free trade in goods but less free trade in services.
£4,300 should not be taken or presented as a prediction of the cost to families. There’s too much uncertainty in the figures and the analysis is about how the overall size of the economy could be affected, not about households’ incomes.
But even without the numbers, you can choose to trust the driving idea behind this research: fewer barriers to trade makes for stronger economies. In the same way, we can choose to trust a doctor telling us not to eat junk food without demanding they predict exactly what our weight will be next year.
Osborne's claim that Brexit could cost each British household £4,300 faced heavy criticism
Osborne's claim that Brexit could cost each British household £4,300 faced heavy criticism CREDIT: MATT CARDY/PA

On Brexit's impact on the NHS

Verdict: Hard to say

There are two parts to this claim, made by the leader of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The figures add up and the claim has been properly qualified, but whether the gloomy NHS-related predictions are realised depends on future political decisions about how the budget is divided.
Most economists agree that the economy would suffer if we leave the EU, and O’Grady is using estimates made by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent think-tank.
And for her NHS claim, she is simply comparing the budget for NHS England with the IFS estimates. £30bn is roughly a quarter of the NHS England budget, so enough to fund it for three months.
However, according to George Osborne and Alistair Darling’s "Brexit-budget", future politicians will try and limit the impact on the NHS by raising taxes and cutting in other areas. They say the impact on the NHS could be as much projected to be £2.5bn - two per cent of the total budget.

On EU red tape in the UK

Verdict: Hard to say

This claim is taken from a paper by the think tank Open Europe, which is flawed in a number of respects.
This figure is simply a total of projected costs, which the paper argues makes an annual amount of £33.4bn. 
But some regulations produce benefits as well, which Open Europe estimates total £58.3bn. The claim ignores this figure on the basis that it may not have actually materialised. Of course, this applies to costs as well.
Open Europe itself notes that the projected benefits for the "top five costliest EU-derived regulations" outweighed the costs.

On the UK's sovereignty in the EU

Verdict: Wrong

According to Sara Hagemann of UK in a Changing Europe: It is incorrect to say that the UK consistently loses in the EU.
Since 1999, when decision records became available from the EU Council where governments meet to negotiate and adopt policies, the UK has been in the minority (voting "No") on 57 legislative acts.
It has supported - and hence been in the majority - on 2,474 acts, and abstained on 70 occasions.
It is true that the UK votes against the majority more frequently than other member states, in particular during the last few years of David Cameron’s Government. But the UK is not consistently outvoted in the EU.

On British jobs and their reliance on the EU

Verdict: Wrong

This is wrong. The calculations behind the claim are flawed and the estimates on which it’s based are old and have since been substantially revised.
Roughly 15 per cent of manufacturing jobs were directly linked to demand from other EU countries in 2014, according to figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
That doesn’t mean these jobs are dependent on the UK being an EU member. The link is with trade, which may or may not be affected depending on what deal a post-Brexit UK gets, led by a new Prime Minister.
And if exports elsewhere grew, even a decline in trade with the EU will not necessarily mean that jobs will be lost.
The success of Nigel Farage's Ukip is one of the main reasons why the UK is having a referendum
The success of Nigel Farage's Ukip is one of the main reasons why the UK is having a referendum CREDIT: EPA

On Britain's immigration levels and the EU

Verdict: Hard to say

The UK population - currently at 65 million - is expected to reach 70 million in 2027 and 75 million in 2042. They’re uncertain estimates, not least because they involve tentative predictionson future immigration levels.
The Office for National Statistics is assuming a fall in net migration, from 300,000 a year to under 200,000 from 2020. 
Under its variant scenarios, ‘low migration’ of 100,000 would mean we’d hit 70 million in 2031, four years later than the main projection. The population wouldn't reach 70 million before 2040 if we had no net migration at all for the next two decades.
There’s no single piece of research that fully answers questions about quality of life and social cohesion. However, experts at the Migration Observatory have produced overviews on immigrants’ effect on public financespublic services, and ‘social cohesion’.

 On Brexit's impact on the pound and European holidays

Verdict: Hard to say

This claim is speculation, but the thinking behind it is reasonable. All the government is really saying is that the pound will lose its value in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. This has support from plenty of other sources and has been immediately proved right.
The Governor of the Bank of England said before the vote that "the recent behaviour of the foreign exchange markets suggest that were the UK to vote to leave the EU, sterling’s exchange rate would fall further". The Bank didn’t put a number on it, but other claims estimated falls from 10 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020.
Cameron drew on Treasury analysis suggesting that sterling would fall at least 12 per cent, and applies that to the average spend for an EU holiday. If you get fewer euros for your pound, a holiday in the Eurozone will cost more.
This sterling effect is an expected short-term consequence of a leave vote, but NIESR believes it would have a permanent impact. 
If sterling recovered for some other reason, the impact on holiday prices would be reversed. And while the general train of thought is heading in the right direction, the exact destination – the £230 figure – is impossibly precise.

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