The 179bn fund which the UK pays into, but from which it receives nothing back.

Graham Lear
4 min readJul 28, 2019

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Modern railway station Bydgoszcz Główna built in 2015

Yesterday Boris Johnson pledged to fast-track the proposed new trans-Pennine transport route between Manchester and Leeds to help “turbocharge” regional growth.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, the EU has been busy for decades, spending billions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money in other EU countries on projects including the development of new and upgraded rail and road infrastructure.

I along with you dear readers would like to know
when the British public was asked the following question:-

“Do you agree to spend huge sums of British money,
which will have to be borrowed by the Government,
on building great rail and road networks in other EU countries.

The 179 BILLION EU fund the UK pays into, but from which it receives nothing back

There are many “EU funds”, too many to count. One of these is called the “Cohesion Fund” and it comes in at a colossal €179 billion for the current EU budget period 2014–2020.

The UK contributes to this fund to the tune of around 12.5%. That’s around £7 billion of UK money.

A key aspect of this fund is that its role is purely to subsidise other EU countries. Under EU rules the UK receives absolutely nothing back.

The only countries permitted to receive the € 179 billion are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Example

Polish National Railway Fund

This fund was created by the government of the Republic of Poland to implement the transport policy of the state understood as sustainable development of respective branches of the infrastructure. It is partly funded by the European Union and has been in operation since 2006. The NRF provides financing for the construction, repairs, and maintenance of railway lines, and for the liquidation of redundant connections. Among investments (>100 million PLN) financed under the NRF and government are worth noting:

  • Skarżysko Kamienna–Ocice (project duration: 2010–2015)
  • Radom–Kielce (project duration: 2011–2016)
  • Toruń–Bydgoszcz (project duration: 2010–2014)
  • Wrocław–Jelenia Góra (project duration: 2010–2015)
  • Kędzierzyn Koźle–Legnica (project duration: 2014–2015)
  • Głogów–Zielona Góra–Rzepin–Dolna Odra (project duration: 2009–2016)
  • replacement of the surface of track no. 1 and accompanying works at the stations of the railway line Kluczbork-Poznań on the section from 131.5 km to 181.781km (project duration: 2010–2015)
  • modernisation of hump tracks (project duration: 2013–2015).
  • The most important refurbishments of railway lines financed by the National Railway Fund include Bydgoszcz Główna–Tczew route (project duration: 2010–2015) and the section Inowrocław–Zduńska Wola–Chorzów Batory (project duration: 2012–2015); Włoszczowa Północ–Częstochowa Stradom (project duration: 2013–2016).

The contrast with the UK

In Boris’ speech yesterday he spoke of turbo-charging regional economies and “Northern Powerhouse Rail”. He announced:

“I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route. It will be up to local people and us to come to an agreement on the exact proposal they want — but I have tasked officials to accelerate their work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn

It is worth noting that it will be the UK taxpayer who will fund this, with no assistance from the EU’s ‘Cohesion Fund’.

Remain MPs, can you please justify this?

Forget “the Bank of Mum and Dad”, the EU has the Bank of England to fund its extravagances. I invite any pro-Remain MP to explain to the British people why the UK has been borrowing money for decades in order to pay for great road and rail networks in other EU countries.

Please don’t deflect by talking about “all the money we get back for blah, blah, blah”. You know that the UK pays far more into the EU than it gets back and has done for 46 years. Stick to this £57 billion EU fund, please. We get nothing back. Zero. Rien. Nichts.

Oh and please don’t even think of starting to deflect again by talking about “the benefits of trade” with EU countries. Firstly we have a massive trade deficit with them (£95bn). Secondly, does the USA have to pay for Mexican and Canadian roads and railways in order to trade with their neighbours?

For once, please just tell the British people that they have been subsidising the development of road and rail networks of EU countries for years, and please tell the British people why you think this should continue. Because can’t help feeling that if £7 billion had been spent on the road and rail infrastructure of the UK in the last six years, the lives of millions of British people would have been improved on a daily basis.

( Sources EU Commission. Polish Railways )

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Graham Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.