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Claims that European Union membership cost us £67m last year inaccurate and highly misleading

Your article in Wednesday's edition (News, May 18) led with the claim that EU membership cost Northern Ireland £67m last year, according to the Leave.EU campaign.

This is totally inaccurate and highly misleading, as it fails to take into account the UK's annual rebate. I understand Leave.EU has since admitted that it overstated Northern Ireland's contribution to the EU budget. Your readers deserve the truth.

The CBI estimates that the correct figures, based on HM Treasury figures, are that Northern Ireland was a net beneficiary by around £60m in 2015.

This is calculated taking account of the Northern Ireland share of the UK's net contribution to the EU, including its annual rebate, and taking account of the receipts we receive, including £236m of farm support and around £144m of other EU funds spent in Northern Ireland last year through a wide range of programmes.

These figures do not include the research funding our universities and businesses receive directly from the EU and other funding organisations can apply for. There are no guarantees that these levels of funding will continue in the event of UK leaving the EU.

While there are a number of factors which will influence how people will vote on June 23, the implications for Northern Ireland's prosperity and economy will be one of the most important.

CBI members have been actively considering the issues for more than three years and the majority have concluded that the best outcome is for the UK to remain in a reformed EU.

We need to ensure the public is provided with accurate information to help them arrive at a decision.


Director, CBI Northern Ireland

Belfast Telegraph


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