The UK's net contribution to the EU budget – ie the amount we pay in that is above and beyond what we get back in EU grants – is going up.

Over 2007-9 it was in the order of £4.7 billion. That's now rising over 2010-3 to between £6-6.8 billion. That's according to recent official Government statistics.

The principle reason for this change is the 2008 Act of Parliament that put into force the deal Tony Blair reached with other EU leaders.

The extra £2 billion a year to Brussels was the price British taxpayers were supposed to pay in return for massive reform of the disastrous Common Agricultural Policy. But the promises made by the French and others have not been kept.

If you paid for something by mail order and it never got sent, you'd demand a refund.

Given the huge budget cuts that the UK is now facing, we should get this money back.

Why is this idea important?

Whether you think money should be available to loan to Sheffield Steel, or upgrade rundown schools, or protect frontline services in hospitals, £2 billion makes for a real amount of money that would otherwise just be handed over to Brussels to be spent in other EU countries.

It also sends a serious message to the EU about waste, and the need to tackle disastrous policies such as the CAP, the CFP, the EU’s diplomatic corps, and mad spending.

Importantly, for those who don't want the UK to pull out of the EU (since opinion is split on this issue), repeal of the 2008 Act does not trigger a default of the European Communities Act (1972). It doesn't automatically force the UK out of the EU. It is therefore achievable by this Government, while putting crucial EU reform on the political agenda.

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