Ian Parsley is utterly wrong (May 19) in stating that the Leave.EU campaign has been “forced to admit’ anything to the BBC.
Following the press launch of ‘Secure, Peaceful & Prosperous: Why Northern Ireland would be better leaving the EU’ Leave.EU was asked by the BBC to clarify that the Northern Ireland £67m net contribution mentioned on page 6 of the document was based on 2014 £18.8m gross UK contribution and not £14.4m net. We confirmed it was and gave no apology for this, as none is required. There is indeed a £67m net contribution that is only balanced by the rebate negotiated in the 1980s – a rebate that can be removed by the EU if it decides to do so. It has already reduced it once before. In our document we referenced, with a footnote (9), a study by the trade Union sponsored NERI (NERIWP 2016/No 35) which despite including the £4.4bn rebate is still unable to say with certainty that Northern Ireland is a net beneficiary.
In the context of the entire document ‘Secure, Peaceful & Prosperous: Why Northern Ireland would be better leaving the EU’ Leave.EU does not believe it has overstated any number. We drew attention in the document (and it’s launch) that there are a range of numbers on EU spending in Northern Ireland, but only one direction of travel, which is not disputed; that farming, regional and special funding to Northern Ireland is certain to be reduced in the years to come.
Available online at bit.ly/1ODQXvH our publication addresses all the issues relevant to NI, seriously and reasonably, setting out the case for why we would be better voting to leave the EU on the 23rd rather than relying on the BBC, Twitter or the odd individual with an important sounding title.
Brian Monteith, Leave.EU