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Whether you're voting IN or OUT, you need to see this - here’s the truth behind some of the biggest claims made recently by the ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ campaigns. Please watch this and pass it on:
If enough of us get involved, we can make sure that millions of people across the UK will see the facts that’ll help them to make their mind up about Europe.
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The official 'in' and 'out' leaflets: fact checked
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The £1 to £10 ratio comes from comparing our net contribution to the EU budget to an estimate by the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) of the financial impact of being in the EU. This is like comparing apples to a basket of vegetables.
The UK’s EU membership fee, minus what the EU spends in the UK, has averaged around £9 billion over the last few years. Meanwhile the CBI estimates being in the EU leads to a financial gain of £73-£91 billion a year. This is also where the £91 billion claim comes from. It’s equivalent to about 4-5% of the size of the UK’s economy.
While our membership fee is an exact figure, the financial benefit of being in the EU is highly uncertain.
The CBI’s estimate is based on a selection of studies produced at different times (some date back well over a decade), with different methodologies, and designed to answer different questions. Some looked at the economic impact of EU membership to date, and some at the future impact of a vote to leave. Some are not even specific to the UK.
While some of these studies have attempted to account for what the financial costs and benefits might have been had the UK not joined the EU, it’s very difficult to do this, and impossible to put a precise figure on it.
As for how the NHS would be affected if we leave, most economists seem to agree that leaving the EU would cost the UK economically, which could mean less money available overall. All other things being equal if there is less money in the economy there will be less money for anything the government wants to spend money on.
Whether the NHS actually gains or loses when the economy grows or shrinks depends on the policy the government chooses to adopt. The Coalition government protected NHS spending at a time when most other areas saw spending reductions, although the NHS was and still is being asked to make efficiency savings.
The UK can’t control the number of EU citizens coming to the country, so in that sense our migration policy is controlled by the EU. That’s been largely true since we joined, although the EU court has been important in extending its powers in this area. Control over immigration from other countries mostly remains in the hands of the British government.
But the UK can, and does, perform passport and identity checks at its borders and refuses entry to travellers who do not travel with valid identity documents even if they are from another EU member state.
EU law says that EU citizens can only be refused entry on “public policy, public security and public health grounds” and ultimately it’s up to the EU court to decide what this means.
How much control we have over EU immigration if we vote to leave might depend on what trade relationship we negotiate with the rest of the EU.
If we wanted to continue to participate in the EU single market after leaving the EU, we could join Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein as members of the European Economic Area.
So controlling immigration might require leaving the single market as well as the EU.
Over a quarter of a million immigrants came from the rest of the EU in the year to September 2015, according to official estimates. Newcastle’s population is about 30,000 higher.
While there’s no definitive study, most estimates suggest the overall impact of immigration on the public purse is small. Research also tends to agree that recently-arrived immigrants contribute more than those here for longer, and that immigrants from other EU countries contribute more than those from outside the EU.
The impact on public services is difficult to be certain about. Immigrants may add to demand for and pressure on public services, but also contribute to financing and providing those services, particularly in the NHS. The impacts also won’t be the same for everyone.
38 Degrees members believe in democracy – that the more of us who get involved, the better. And nearly a quarter of a million of us voted on our people-powered plan for the EU referendum. Together we voted to stay neutral, and make sure that everyone in the UK has enough information to make an informed choice.
This is the second of what will be many more fact checks to come – assessing claims made by both sides of the EU referendum. You can see more fact checks here
You can find more impartial fact-checks on politics and the media at fullfact.org.
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