LETTER: Benefits of EU

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I would like to respond to Peter Harvey’s answer to my letter in the Herald, in which he argues that being in the EU is bad value for money.

First off, it is important to point out that the purpose of my original letter was to make sure people are aware of these EU funds.

One of my jobs as an MEP is to ensure people in the region take advantage of EU funding programmes and help local communities benefit.

Second, at £8.6billion, our annual contribution to the EU budget amounts to just one per cent of Government spending, or £34 each year to the average taxpayer. That’s not a bad deal to be part of the world’s biggest trading club, which according to the CBI benefits each household by up to £3,000 each year.

Moreover, just six per cent of the EU budget is spent on administration, the rest is spent on infrastructure and economic projects across Europe. Many of these projects are bid for by UK companies and help poorer regions in Europe catch up, boosting British exports in the long term.

Even putting aside these significant economic advantages, Britain’s EU membership goes beyond a mere game of numbers.

Being in the EU gives UK citizens a whole range of benefits, from lower roaming charges to cheap, regulated flights and free health care when travelling around Europe.

Most importantly, being part of the world’s biggest trading bloc gives Britain more clout and security in an increasingly insecure world. Whether it’s standing up to Putin’s Russia or taking on people-traffickers in the Mediterranean, the best way to tackle the big problems facing us today is by working with our EU neighbours. That is not going to change any time soon.

Catherine Bearder

Liberal Democrat MEP for the south east

Park End Street

Oxford

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