Prosperity, growth and dignity await us outside of the EU

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

No matter what way you look at the EU issue it makes no sense for the UK to be involved.

What is happening across Europe on the migration front is a salutary lesson in the folly of EU nations surrendering control of their own borders.

We are a huge net financial contributor, pouring £20 billion every year into the bottomless pit of Brussels. The net cost of EU membership is over £1m every hour.

This is £20billion far better spent on our own people, our own farmers, rather than the inefficient farmers of Italy and Greece.

Though one of the biggest economies in the world, we cannot even make a trade deal with another country, because only Brussels can do that. This is a huge inhibitor of growth. It is also worth noting that the EU’s share of the world’s GDP has fallen dramatically.

Our trade deficit with the rest of the EU is of the order of £160m per day; the proportion of our exports to the EU is falling year on year, while our exports to the rest of the world rise, confirming that this is where the growth in our trade lies.

The NI Manufacturing Sales and Exports Survey for 2014 showed that 21% of sales were in Northern Ireland, 46% to GB, 17% to the rest of the world, 8% to the Republic and just 8% to other EU states.

Then, there is the nonsense spun about Northern Ireland being unable to survive without EU handouts. Not only is it our own money we are getting back, but even we as a Province are net contributors.

Our proportionate share of the UK’s annual contribution is around £500m. Last year, 2014/15, we got back £300m on agriculture and £133m from EU structural funds.

And what of Northern Ireland’s once proud fishing industry? It is EU regulation that has strangled it and which decides when you can fish, where you can fish, how you can fish and how much you can fish. It has squeezed the lifeblood out of our fishing industry.

Prosperity and growth, along with the dignity of standing on our own feet and making our own decisions, await us outside the EU. Why are we waiting? We have nothing to lose but our chains.

• Jim Allister MLA is leader of Traditional Unionist Voice