The past two weeks have identified a number of important problems with the new UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, one of the most prominent being the continuation of huge payments from the UK to the EU in exchange for the UK participating in EU programmes. The biggest of these is the £15 billion over 7 years set aside for UK participation in the EU’s Horizon research programme (which distributes grants to researchers to encourage innovation). While this sounds like a noble cause, the problem is, throughout its entire existence, the UK has made a net loss from the Horizon programme, never receiving any more money than we put in, and we don’t seem to be attempting to negotiate a better deal – why not?
On top of this there is £700 million over 7 years set aside for participation in the EU Copernicus Earth Observation Programme. Is there really no better use for our money, than our funding yet another EU project for more satellites to observe earth – and then simply waiting for the EU to pull the plug on us once they have taken our money? The EU has the power to unilaterally exclude the UK from these research projects at short notice, willy nilly [DEL: - :DEL] - and with no obligation to return the funding we have committed. They can do this simply by saying they believe we do not match up to their expectations in other unrelated areas of the trade agreement!
This waste of UK taxpayer’s money by the EU isn’t anything new. The EU has already excluded the UK from the Galileo satellite programme, to which the UK contributed billions, as well as the vital technology – the last delivery of this technology was only a few days ago! If this can happen on the Galileo project, I am sure it will happen again on any other EU project we join.
So I ask, why on earth are we wasting money funding the research of others, when all or most of this money could go directly to UK researchers with no strings attached? With the economy on the brink of our biggest ever crisis in peacetime, this is money which should stay in our coffers and help researchers and small businesses in this country contribute to our economic recovery.
The PM and the Chancellor launched their ‘Build Back Better Council’ this week - with the membership dominated by big businesses, some which may not even be UK-owned. Isn’t it time the focus was placed on UK-owned small and medium-sized businesses - after all, they make up the huge majority of businesses in this country?
This is an issue I firmly believe in, so I have written to members of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, about reversing these decisions and prioritising UK businesses, rather than funding EU ego-boosting vanity projects. We have before us a unique opportunity to reset our economy and put UK priorities first. We MUST NOT WASTE this chance. You can read the letter at the end of this e-Bulletin.
Get Britain Out will carry on with our fight for a Real Brexit for as long as we can with our limited funding, so we still need donations if you want us to keep going. I am convinced we will have many fights ahead to maintain our sovereignty and fill the gaps which still need to be resolved with the EU.
We really do appreciate the donations we receive from so many of you in these difficult times, but donations are becoming less and less – and many are being cancelled. I really do understand not everyone can afford to donate, particularly in these very stressful times, but if you can afford to help, we must keep up the pressure on the Government, or we really might end up back inside the EU with all our hard work undone! The only way to fully Get Britain Out of the EU is if we can continue to keep up the pressure, but I need to have the money to pay for my staff and our very small office.
DONATE HERE ([link removed])
I hope you are all keeping well during these trying times and, in some way, have been able to appreciate the first few weeks of our independence from the European Union - not that the media will tell you any of the good news out there, nor would they remind you of all of the reasons we voted to Leave which have been in full effect since January 1^st 2021.
However, as always, while keeping an eye on all the concerns from the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and the EU, and making sure you, our supporters are always informed, we at Get Britain Out can still appreciate the great success that is Brexit.
These successes are currently set-in stone for as long as Brexiteers stay vigilant. However, there are many more successes which could be added, but this is only possible if the Government pulls their finger out. As we have said in our previous e-Bulletins, it was always inevitable we would see some problems at the borders as businesses and customs agents adjust to a new system for the first time in nearly 40 years. However, the Government needs to get a move on with releasing support to businesses - and the ports - including the conclusion of the bidding process for Freeports and ensuring the customs forms process is far more efficient.
The ridiculous current situation is best exemplified by stories this last week of a shipment of shellfish which was delayed from entering the EU because the customs form had been filled in to say the product was from the UK, when apparently it should have said Great Britain (GB)! This bewildering state of affairs just goes to show the divisions being drawn by the EU - and no flexibility being shown from their side.
Scenarios like this must not be allowed to continue, even if this means the Prime Minister pursues a cancellation of parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol which have caused these issues. This can be done through Article 16 of the Protocol. However, I am not hopeful the PM will take such a course of action, because it would mean an admittance of failure on his part, and right now he can lay some of the blame at the feet of the Pandemic. However, something must be done – and quickly.
Some seafood hauliers blamed their problems on Brexit - instead of accepting there are less orders from Europe because their biggest customers are restaurants, which are not currently open due to Covid-19. They need to be realistic! Surely, instead of playing the blame game, for the time being, a solution could be to sell more of their luxury seafood into UK supermarkets. I for one would love to see more excellent fresh British produce on all of our supermarket shelves.
However, in an attempt to support the fishing industry, the Prime Minister has announced £23 million in grants to cover any costs incurred as a direct result of Brexit. In all of this flurry of spending, however, there is one question I am left to ponder. The Scottish Government was handed £200 million to help businesses prepare for Brexit - including those in the Scottish fishing industry where many of these problems have occurred. So, what happened to all this money? The SNP certainly haven’t missed the opportunity to blame Westminster, but I am less than convinced about where the money has gone! We are going to try and look into this so keep an eye out.
Just to show the SNP’s willingness to argue one thing and then do another - the Scottish Government has now confirmed they will support the Freeport programme and expect Scottish regions to be given financial support. This comes just a few weeks after describing Freeports as a “shiny squirrel designed to distract from the damage of Brexit”. No doubt now seeing the potential advantages of Brexit, hopefully, we will see less talk of IndyRef2!
Another unforeseen issue by many has been the need for people buying products from inside the EU to pay additional customs duties on goods when they are then delivered on doorsteps in the UK. While it is understandable for these charges to be implemented because we have now left the Customs Union - and we would always encourage people to ‘Buy British’ if they can - the problem is these charges are not made clear to customers prior to purchasing goods from the EU. Why the secrecy and lack of clarity? Companies need to get their administration sorted so that when someone buys a product online, they know what the final cost will be – and if necessary, reduce prices accordingly.
On a lighter note, for us all, it has been great to see the Government pushing back against the EU this week, with the UK refusing to grant full diplomatic status to the EU’s new Ambassador to the UK - the reason being, the UK, quite rightly, does not accept the EU as a sovereign nation-state! This means EU Ambassadors will not have immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction or exemption from taxation.
While the EU get their knickers in a twist calling the UK petty, Michel Barnier - in his new role as a special advisor to Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission - is already jumping up and down and threatening repercussions. Šefčovič is taking on a new role as the EU’s appointee to the UK-EU Partnership Council, which will help govern the future relationship between the two countries. The UK is yet to announce our own appointee; however, no doubt it will be Michael Gove from everything I have heard so far. During his complaints against the UK, Barnier had a rare moment of self-awareness, actually admitting the EU actually needs to change the way it behaves if it wants to avoid other Member States following the UK out the door! Perhaps he can bring this sensible mindset to the table when we deal with the EU in the future….
As one part of the EU begins to move forward, unsurprisingly other parts are running around like headless chickens. The European Parliament has now requested an additional two months to scrutinise and pass the UK-EU Treaty which they were meant to approve by February 28^th. The reason they need more time? They still haven’t finished translating the document! It’s just as well the officially signed document is in English so they can’t try and slip in any new gremlins! With all the people on the EU’s payroll, are they really saying they can’t find maybe 100 people to sit down and translate the document? Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected this request however, preferring to tell the EU to get on with it and stick to the agreed deadline, so we can all move forward.
With this characteristic lack of urgency shown by the EU, it is a wonder we ever got any negotiating done at all - and some in the EU want to end the use of English as the universal language in the European Parliament, which would lead to even more wasted time. Thank goodness we got out when we did!
WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO:
Read our letter to the Government calling on them to stop wasting taxpayer’s money on funding EU vanity projects and focus on supporting UK small businesses. HERE ([link removed])
Director of Get Britain Out, Jayne Adye has written the following articles;
* For Brexit-Watch - Billions more pounds set to fly to Brussels? Will it ever end? ([link removed])
* For Global Vision - Post-Brexit Boom Needs Government Money – and Action Now ([link removed])
* In the Daily Express - In five years the EU will blackmail us over fish again – it's in the small print ([link removed])
* On our website - EU Attempts to Brainwash Young People Continue ([link removed])
IMPORTANT STORIES YOU MAY LIKE TO SEE:
* UK EU row breaks out as Boris blocks EU ambassadors' privileges – Daily Express ([link removed])
* Nissan boss says Brexit trade deal has given them a 'competitive advantage – Daily Mail ([link removed])
* SNP in 'humiliating climbdown' after deciding to embrace UK's Brexit freeports plan – The Daily Telegraph ([link removed])
* The British economy has long outperformed the EU – Briefings for Britain ([link removed])
* Millionaire British music stars blast Boris over Brexit – Daily Mail ([link removed])
* Government considers scrapping some EU labour laws – BBC News ([link removed])
* Barnier moves to ‘special adviser’ as Šefčovič to become point man on Brexit – Politico ([link removed])
* Lisa Nandy Labour MP likens the PM defending Churchill to Trump defending White Supremacists – Guido Fawkes ([link removed])
* Michel Barnier warns there is still a risk of more Brexits in the future – The Daily Telegraph ([link removed])
* The Prime Minister and The Chancellor launch new Build Back Better Council – Gov.uk ([link removed])
* Boris Johnson unveils £23 million compensation fund for fishing industry losses over Brexit red tape – The Daily Telegraph ([link removed])
* UK on brink of securing lucrative 11-country super deal – Daily Express ([link removed])
That’s all for now.
Best wishes from Jayne Adye, Campaign Director - and the Team at Get Britain Out.
P.S. Thank you for your ongoing support, which is very much appreciated. Please don’t forget, we still need your help with donations. There is lots more to do to continue to hold the Government’s feet to the fire to get the rest of what we need to achieve a Real Brexit. Many people have already cancelled donations (which I understand), but now more than ever, every penny counts if we are to continue our work.
Donations can be made via bank transfer, bank standing order, cheque or PayPal – all the details are HERE ([link removed]) . Re bank transfers – some banks have fraud contingencies in place – so please just make sure the account number and sort code are correct so your transfer goes through correctly.
DONATE HERE ([link removed])
PLEASE NOTE: Cheques should be payable to The EU Referendum Campaign Limited and not Get Britain Out. Unfortunately, our bank cannot accept Post Office postal orders or credit card donations (unless via PayPal) – or foreign currency cheques. Your contributions are very much appreciated. If you would like an acknowledgement, please can you let me have your e-mail address or write it on the back of your cheque please.
Not already signed up for our free fortnightly e-Bulletins – you can do so HERE ([link removed]) .
Remember, you can also get daily information and comments plus press links, via our social media - Facebook ([link removed]) and Twitter ([link removed]) . There are links to Brexit press articles on our website (during the week) via this link HERE ([link removed]) . For updates on our Recommended Reading, you can find them via this link HERE ([link removed]) .
Best wishes and again, we want to wish you a Happier, healthy and safe New Year,