The EU costs a fortune, why pay?

The EU does cost money, as any club does.[1] The question is, what do we get for the money? The return in benefits, financial and otherwise, is more than worth the investment as each of us gains over £1,000 per year from our membership. Besides, to leave the EU yet seek to remain within the single market will still involve a significant payment to the EU budget with no say in how it is spent.

Currently, the net contribution per capita of the UK is £116 per person which, although less than Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, is still a significant amount of money.[2]  However, this is only half the story since the wider economic benefits of continued EU membership more than cover these costs and each individual makes on average £1,225 per year from our membership.[3]


 Within Scotland the situation is actually even better. Scots make a net contribution per capita of only £8 per year which means that the benefits dramatically outweigh any costs.[4] Scots are already much more likely to see the EU as good value for money than elsewhere in the UK and rightly so, we do well out of the deal.[5]

The EU budget should also be seen in context. It is minor compared to what national governments spend. The EU budget makes up around 1% of EU GDP yet the budgets of the EU’s various governments represent (on average) around 49% of GDP.[6]