There is one thing the IFS and I agree about. When we leave we will be able to spend the money we send to the EU and don’t get back on our priorities. That will boost the UK economy by around 0.6% (they say 0.5%). We can hire more doctors and nurses, create more jobs, pay more incomes in the UK. Will the Treasury now admit there will be a boost to our economy when we spend our own money?
On leaving the EU wages should go up a bit for the lower paid. We will be able to take control of our own borders and limit the numbers of people coming in from the rest of the EU to take lower paid jobs. The Chairman of the Remain campaign himself, Lord Rose, has stated wages should go up when we leave and put in a fair and sensible migration policy.
Some on the pro EU side delight in selling the UK short and forecasting a worse outcome for us if we leave. The one thing the forecasts of the Treasury and the other international bodies have in common is they all think that we will better off in five and in fifteen years time if we leave than we are today. They just think we be even better off if we stay in. Those of us on the Leave side think we should be a little bit better off if we leave than if we stay. After all, we know we can spend our own money on making more people in the UK better off by providing them with decent jobs with better public services.
So the argument is not over whether individuals will still have a job or not. It is not even over whether individuals will get a pay rise or not. The argument is will you get a bigger pay rise under Brexit or by staying in?
If we cut the numbers of potential workers coming here, that will help wages rise. If we create more jobs here by spending our own money on our own priorities that will advance our prosperity.
So why are there several pessimistic forecasts? Some say we will lose out on trade if we leave. I don’t see that happening. The rest of the EU sells us much more than we sell them, so they won’t want to impose new barriers and tariffs in the way of our trade with them. They have five million jobs on the continent making goods and services for us.
Anyway we and the rest of the EU are members of the World Trade Organisation. Bound by its rules, the rest of the EU would not be able to increase tariffs on most things under WTO controls. It is true the WTO would allow a 10% tariff on cars, but Germany has made very clear that’s the last thing they want given how many VWs, BMWs and Mercedes they sell here.
Out of the EU we will be able to rebuild our fishing industry, We will be able to generate our own power and develop our own energy reserves in ways we wish without having to be part of a common energy policy.
These are of the reasons I am voting to leave. I could not recommend something which I thought would make people here worse off. I also want to restore our democracy and regain the right to make our own laws and set our own taxes. It is time to take back control.
Though not knowing precisely what will be in the Bill, we can make a pretty good guess at it, because there was the 'Draft' Wales Bill' that ran out of steam during the last Parliament. We know the range of powers to be 'reserved' to Westminster will be much reduced from previous proposals. We also know that the 'Necessity tests', which caused so much concern, has been totally removed. So more chance of agreement.
Today I spoke about vesting in the Welsh Government the responsibility to levy a significant proportion of Income Tax. For me this is fundamental. My strong views on this issue were developed when I served as Conservative Finance Spokesman in the National Assembly for Wales more than ten years ago. We used to have what was termed the annual budget process. But it was not a budget at all. It was no more than an annual spending plan. A budget involves consideration of both sides of the ledger - how Govt money is raised as well as how it is spent.
The key line in my speech was "If devolution of Income Tax is not included in the Wales Bill, it deserves to fail. It deserves to be rejected. Without the inclusion of a responsibility placed on the Wales Government to levy a significant proportion of Income Tax, not one iota of extra power should be devolved"
Though some of most contentious proposals in the Draft Wales Bill have been removed, there remains potential areas for disagreement. How is the small but growing body of Welsh law to be formally considered? Do we need a separate Welsh Juridiction? Should Policing be devolved along with other emergency services such as ambulance and fire services? Should we consider devolution of broadcasting? Plenty of potential for disagreement.
The following blog post was wrote by Katie Pert, who I was delighted to host in my Westminster office this week as she completed her work experience.
How our electoral system is undemocratic and produces an unfair result:
Even though the ‘First-Past-The-Post’ system has the benefit of having constituencies with Members of Parliament representing different regions, maintaining a link between the people and the happenings in Parliament, it is not at all a fair way of representing the citizens of the UK. It can even be said to be corrupt as in 2005 it took an average 26,906 votes to elect a Labour MP, 44,373 to elect a Tory MP and 96,539 votes to elect a Lib Dem MP. This is simply not equal nor democratic and a contributing cause of the democratic deficit.
FPTP provokes tactical voting. People may not vote for their favoured MP if they know that there is no chance of election. They often vote for another party that does stand a chance in order to make sure the party they wouldn’t want in Government won’t get a seat.
If in Westminster, we had a different voting system such as STV (Single Transferrable Vote) it would create a result where everyone’s voice is properly heard.
Switching to STV this would put Westminster in line with other institutions in the UK as it is already used for electing the Northern Ireland Assembly and in local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as European Parliament elections.
It’s disappointing that there is no mention of this electoral reform in the current government’s manifesto but it seems that the Conservative Party is not concerned about the fairness of the people. Only more cuts. Their version of electoral reform is to "address the unfairness of the current Parliamentary boundaries", by reducing the number of MPs to 600, which they say they are doing “to cut the cost of politics". But is this really a priority? Does the importance of cutting costs outweigh whether every single person’s vote is counted and equally represented in Parliament?
It seems that the government believe that just because they called for a referendum on the ‘Alternative Vote’ system and it got a ‘No’ majority, that there is no need for reform. When actually the referendum put people in the position of being not properly educated, with the ‘No’ campaign having much more spent on it than the ‘Yes’. This is also something that the Conservative Party can’t hack: educating the people without being biased.
For the upcoming referendum, should Cameron have spent £9.2 million on taxpayer-funded flyer with the government's recommendation to remain in the European Union? Isn’t this yet another example of the Conservative Party not fairly educating people on a matter, but inflicting their own views upon them?
I took a decision in February to join the Leave campaign because I didn't like the way our Prime Minister was sent back from Brussels empty handed after he tried to argue for the return of powers. He got nothing. So I think we should show them we are serious and act decisively to end the supremacy of EU law. We should replace our membership with a different sort of partnership where we stop sending £350 million a week to Brussels and stop European Courts undermining our democracy.
None of the arguments put forward by the pro-EU campaign have been very persuasive. In fact, as the volume of scare mongering propaganda has increased, the credibility of those arguing we should remain has gone down even further. We have had all sorts of bankers and bureaucrats wheeled out to tell us how to vote. These are usually the same sorts of people who said we should join the euro and have a track record in being wrong. We have also had an American president ordering us to get to the back of the queue while other EU countries want us to stay because they need our money.
In my view, as a country, we should do what is right for us in this referendum and vote to leave. We should not allow ourselves to be told what to do by other countries. We will always have an international outlook, but this is one occasion when we should think about the UK. Here in Cornwall, I am detecting a growing consensus that we would be better off if we were to leave, but nationally this contest is going to be very very close.
Who should you trust more? Thousands of personal investors who risk their own money in the marketplace? Or the career politician who doubled our national debt in six years?
The Share Centre's new survey of 1,800 personal investors poll shows 56% support Leave, compared to 39% for Remain. 53% believe Brexit will have a positive impact on Britain.
Let's put this in perspective. These are people who invest their own money. They have a personal interest in Britain's prosperity. They have no ulterior motive.
On the other side is George Osborne.
The Chancellor who broke his promise to balance the books. Who spends other people's money without worrying how future generations will pay it back. Who fills every budget with tricks and gimmicks designed to bamboozle the British people.
Oh – and whose career depends on the result of this referendum.
Who's more credible?
Trusting the Downing Street doomsayers means turning a blind eye to the real economic effects of European integration.
To believe that the EU brings economic prosperity, we would need to pretend there was no never-ending debt crisis in Greece. No permanent youth unemployment in Spain. No stagnation across the Eurozone.
We're better off than our neighbours on the Continent today mainly because we didn't join the disastrous single currency. The lesson is the less Europe, the better.
Under national self-determination, Britain went from backwater to industrial powerhouse.
Under the EU, Europe has gone from world-leader to the world's only declining trading bloc.
The high-risk option is to ignore the evidence in front of us. Britain will be better off out.
Earlier today Kate Green MP (Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities), Seema Malholtra MP (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury), Angela Eagle (Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills) and I held a press conference at Church House, Westminster to highlight the importance of women in the campaign to remain in the European Union.