30/06/2011 - Britain’s Membership of the EU: Just what does it mean for the British Worker?

Nick Griffin, MEPNATIONALIST MEP Nick Griffin has just launched a campaign calling for the British electorate to be given the chance to vote on leaving the European Union.  What is novel about this campaign is that it is being funded by the EU through Mr Griffin’s MEP communication budget, a fact that no doubt rankles with the “European Project” panjandrums in Brussels!  Some 500,000 leaflets have been produced alongside other publicity material and a petition for people to sign supporting a referendum on Britain’s continued EU membership.

Solidarity is a non-partisan union and so we leave it up to our members as individuals to decide whether or not they wish to become involved in this campaign. What might be of interest is to take a look at the effects of Britain’s membership of the EU upon the families and working population of this country.

In recent years the most visible and widely commented upon phenomenon arising from our EU membership has been the massive influx of workers from Eastern Europe since Poland and seven other countries in that region joined the EU in 2004.  At the time the government predicted that around 13,000 would want to move here but this figure has been dwarfed by over one million joining the Home Office’s Worker Registration Scheme, through which people from the new EU member states could work legally in the UK and claim benefits after one year of employment, and although the recession has led to a drop in the number of Eastern European workers coming to Britain it is estimated that around 625,000 continue to work in the UK, (source: Daily Mail Online 4 March 2011).  This year the restrictions upon working and claiming benefit in the UK for the citizens of the 2004 EU accession nations came to an end. You do not have to be an economist to see the obvious impact of so many people coming into our labour market in making it harder for British workers to obtain employment when competing for jobs with people from a lower wage economy such as Poland.

A lot less visible than the Polish Delis springing up on our high streets is the amount of money that Britain contributes to the EU.  At present we are facing massive cuts to our public services as a result of the taxpayer paying for the financial swindle perpetrated by the banksters.  Civil servants are gearing up for strike action over proposed changes to their pension entitlements with other public sector staff looking like following them.  Yet Britain still spends £20.8 million per day on our membership of the EU.  Yes, you read that correctly, £20.8 million per day is contributed by Britain to the EU net of what we receive back in grants and subsidies, (source: Democracy Movement/Tax Payers’ Alliance).  Each and every British family is now paying £350 per year net towards the EU, (source: Taxpayers’ Alliance).

Another hidden cost of EU membership is the effects of its rules and regulations upon household costs.  The wasteful Common Agricultural Policy, (CAP), has been the target of criticism for years for its propping-up of French farming and keeping food prices artificially high. More recently the introduction of the EU Emissions Trading System has resulted in the UK Government introducing a “carbon floor price” which estimates predict will add around £50 per annum to a family’s fuel bill by 2015/16, (source Tax Payers’ Alliance).

No doubt many enthusiasts for the EU will have plenty of points to put in its favour but when it comes down to the bottom line, British families are paying a high price for our EU membership.