Should the Government spend £9m on pro-EU leaflets?
- Credit: AP
The Government is launching a £9.3 million taxpayer-funded push to persuade voters to support Britain remaining in the European Union.
Every household in the country will receive a leaflet setting out the 'remain' case and detailing 'some of the choices the country would face if it were to leave'.
The campaign - which will also have a dedicated website - will anger some pro-Brexit campaigners who oppose such direct intervention in the referendum debate.
The total cost is the equivalent of around 34p per household.
In a bid to counter criticism, Downing Street said it had conducted polling that showed 85% of the public 'want the Government to provide more information' to help voters make an 'informed' choice on June 23.
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It also pointed to similar Government initiatives at the time of the 1974 referendum and the fact that both the official 'remain' and 'leave' groups will be handed public money to produce a leaflet during the formal campaign.
Environment Secretary Liz Truss said: 'This referendum will be a huge decision for our country, perhaps the biggest we will make in our lifetimes and it is crucial that the public have clear and accessible information.
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'Independent polling carried out on behalf of the Government made clear that 85% of people want more information from the Government to help make an informed decision.
'The document makes clear why EU membership brings economic security, peace and stability. It also sets out that if the UK voted to leave, the resulting economic shock would put pressure on the value of the pound, which would risk higher prices of some household goods.'
The leaflet is costing £458,500 to create, with £5,947,436 being spent printing and delivering it to over 27 million homes across the UK in two waves.
Another £2,894,064 will go on producing the website and promoting it via social media and other online platforms.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: 'Why is the Government spending £10 million of our money telling us what we should think and what we should do?
'This is very much like what happened in 1975, legally it is questionable and morally it is wrong. It was wrong in 1975 and it is wrong now.
'This Government scam confirms my view that this referendum will be defined by the battle of the people versus the political class.
'Furthermore, the document is jammed full of lies and inaccuracies including the claim that we currently control our borders. We don't. It is outrageous to suggest otherwise.'
The Prime Minister promoted the new website on social media, saying: 'Why the Government believes we are stronger, safer and better off in the EU - a new website with key facts: eureferendum.gov.uk'.