John Redwood writes:
I want to end austerity.
Voters want prosperity, not austerity.
It’s a sobering thought that the reductions in planned spending made by the coalition and the current government are not as big as the total sums we have sent to the EU and not received back over the same time period.
If we leave the EU we will regain control of our own money. We could increase existing budgets and end the upcoming reductions.
The sums involved are set out clearly in the 2015 government account of our contributions and the sums we receive back.
Our total contribution is £19.5bn, minus a £5bn rebate, thanks to Margaret Thatcher’s renegotiation.
We received £4.5bn back in payments to farmers, universities and other grant recipients form the EU, leaving £10bn of contributions that are spent elsewhere on the continent.
If Britain were to exit, the Leave campaign sees no need for us to pay contributions to the EU to trade with them.
More than 160 countries worldwide trade quite happily with the EU without paying anything, most under World Trade Organisation rules.
The UK would get a better agreement than simple WTO low tariffs, as Germany and others sell us so much more than we sell them and it has said they do not wish to impose new barriers in the way of such trade.
It means that we will have a £10bn budget bonus to spend.
I have recently set out what that first anti-austerity Brexit budget could look like, with the full support of Conservatives for Britain.
We should make £1.1bn available to avoid the cuts to disability benefits that parliament disagrees with. We should understand the need for more nurses and doctors in the NHS.
For £250m a year we could train an additional 10,000 doctors over the next few years, and for £800m an additional 60,000 nurses.
For another £800m we could do away with nurses’ loans and give them training grants instead.
Training more people at home would allow us to cut down on expensive agency workers and reduce the need to denude foreign countries of their health professionals to staff our NHS.
I would like to offer £200m to do away with parking charges in hospital car parks for relatives and visitors.
There could be £400m for additional expensive drugs and treatments we cannot currently add to the NHS list, including radon treatment.
We should offer £750m for social care, so that more people can be assisted in their own homes and fewer hospital beds need be used for the infirm elderly not in need of immediate hospital treatment.
There should be £150m more to help people with social housing caught by the spare room subsidy or bedroom tax, so they can continue in their present homes.
I would suggest a road improvement fund to make local road junctions safer and to improve traffic flows at peaks when people are trying to get to work and get their children to school.
There’s £500m a year for that. I would also like to see some tax reductions so people on lower incomes can get some immediate benefit from the extra cash.
Why not start by abolishing VAT on domestic energy? All sensible people want to get rid of fuel poverty, and recognise that home power is dear in the UK.
We could have an immediate cut by getting rid of the VAT.
Let’s also abolish VAT on green energy and materials like insulation, wind turbines, draught excluders, fuel-efficient boilers and the rest. The tampon tax should also go.
Out of the EU we could make all of these changes. In it today we can make none of them.
We are awaiting the EU’s proposals to see if one day we might get away with abolishing the tampon tax. I doubt they would ever allow us to make domestic energy cheaper. All this costs £1.9bn a year.
I want more people to afford a home of their own, so let’s take stamp duty off property in the current lowest band of £125,000 to £250,000. That costs £900m.
We should do more to reduce council tax, which bites hard on those who own their own home but have modest incomes. There’s £1.5bn to help with that.
This would give living standards a boost, improve the NHS, help with disability and social care and get rid of austerity.
It would also boost our balance of payments, as the £12bn the state and the private sector send to the EU institutions all goes out over the foreign exchange account and worsens our balance of payments as a result.
Brexit will be good for the UK.
It will give us a 0.6% boost to GDP by spending our own money, and give us back control over the things that matter most to the country.