With just days to go before Britain goes to the polls to decide whether we remain part of the European Union, the Gazette put 10 key questions to former North Devon MP Sir Nick Harvey and national UKIP chairman Steve Crowther. Having listened closely to the main arguments during the last few months, we wanted to hear their thoughts on the cost of membership, the value to Britain or otherwise and what life would be like if Britain voted to opt out. Weve asked if the money Britain spends on the EU could be spent on the NHS, whether North Devon fishermen could fish local waters, or if there is a danger of recession if we left. Steves answers here are unedited and appear in full. To see Sir Nick Harveys responses, click here.1) How much does EU membership cost Britain and what do we receive in return? The gross direct cost is around £350million a week, or £18billion a year. Nobody disputes this, by the way. From that we get back a rebate of around £5bn and support payments valued at £4.5bn last year. The indirect cost (of regulations etc) is estimated at between £80bn and £180bn a year. The money we get back comes with strings: the EU tells us what to spend it on, demands match-funding and then insists we put up a plaque saying how generous theyve been. (Theyre going to make farmers put these in their fields next year.) The EUs own list of top 10 benefits includes keeping the peace in Europe forgetting NATO, and the mess they made in Yugoslavia and Ukraine and lower mobile phone roaming charges! 2) So if we leave the EU, will we be able to spend our membership fee on the NHS, for example? This campaign has been characterised by astonishing levels of misinformation and deceit. Broadly, the Leave campaign has refrained from making spurious economic predictions unlike George Osborne and, to their eternal shame, the Treasury, who have just made stuff up. (Funny how they can accurately predict our economic performance for the next 30 quarters, but didnt manage to predict the last three correctly.) Its a mistake to suggest that all of the £350m a week we subscribe could be saved and spent on the NHS. It couldnt but we could still add several billions to the NHS budget every year.3) Isnt there a danger Britain could slide into recession if we leave the EU? Maybe. Theres a danger we could slide into recession if we dont leave, also. The EU is in chaos (the French have been rioting for weeks), the Eurozone is melting down, we are about to be asked for a lot more money to prop it up and pay for the migrant crisis. George Osbornes bogus predictions variously suggest that we will have a one-year technical recession (ie no growth) or that we will have a recession worse than that caused by the world wars or the Great Depression. We maintain that the UKs economic independence has served us well. We are the fifth largest world economy, the sixth largest exporter, the eighth largest manufacturer and the EUs largest customer. Dont be panicked into giving up your country for a few quid in the short term.4) What about house prices? Would they be affected if we left? Only if you get the Treasury to construct a complicated case about the effect on the economy to prove it. Or the reverse. Why should they? And if they did, by how much? And would it be a good or a bad thing? For every mature couple whose wealth is tied up in their house, there is a young couple who cant get on the housing ladder.Our house prices are pretty robust, historically, and are governed by supply and demand, not EU membership.5) But we would be able to make our own laws and have more of a say on our border controls if we leave, right? Right. This is the whole point, really. The EU is about outsourcing our government. I met a lady recently who said she thought that was a good thing because we are a pathetic little country. I disagree. Once we give away our ability to hire and fire our politicians, we are slaves. On border controls, it is fabulously simple. Inside the EU, every EU citizen has a right to come, work and settle here, whenever they like. So all our immigration control has to be directed at non-EU people. We should control our own borders. For our public services, our economic stability, our jobs, our social cohesion and our security, we must regain that right.6) Would we still be able to trade with EU member states if we leave? This is where the most enormous whoppers have been told. Trade is not something that governments do. We are the EUs largest customer, and they sold us £89billion more than we sold them last year. If we have to trade on standard tariff terms, well actually make a profit. But I suspect they will want to cut us a deal. Imagine you own a village shop, and you say to your best customer: If you dont pay for our Christmas decorations, youre barred. When Stephen Kinnock MP forecasts The total destruction of the UK economy he is either having a mental aberration or consciously telling a great big lie. You decide.7) What about the environment? Dont we have the EU to thank for clean beaches? Actually, the EU clean beaches scheme has been rather good. So lets keep it, after we leave. We dont have to stop doing good things.8) Would North Devon fishermen be free to fish where they want? North Devon fishermen (assuming there are any left) could fish in British territorial waters. All around the coast, British fishermen could fish the 70 per cent of European fish stocks that swim off our shores. The European fisheries policy has been a disaster for British fishermen, and for fish stocks. The best people to manage inshore fish stocks are the people whose lives and communities depend on them; not industrial trawlers who will fish them out and then move on to do the same to Africa. And our farmers will be better off, too, with a better subsidy regime and better long-term prospects for maintaining it.9) How would travel in Europe be affected if we leave? Would we still get free healthcare in EU countries? The UK is not part of the Schengen area or the Euro, so we already have to show our passports and change currency when we travel in Europe. So no change there. We have freedom of movement now, ie we dont need visas to travel in Europe, but then so do quite a few other EU neighbours, including the Turks, from the end of this month. Why would the EU try and make it difficult for us to travel, spending our money in their countries. Free healthcare is provided through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Actually, the NHS pays for it. Its available to countries that are not in the EU. A current problem is EU workers coming to the UK, getting an NI number and EHIC card, and then getting the NHS to pay for their families health treatments in their home countries.10) What would the world think of Britain if we voted to leave? They would think we were a proud independent nation which was not prepared to be subsumed into a United States of Europe. A nation that wanted to elect and dismiss its own governments, like they do. Control its own borders, like they do. Trade globally on its own terms, like they do. Keep its people secure and stand up for their rights something in which we have been an example to the world. They (that is the people, not the political elites) would probably say good on you, and good luck. Click here to return to our homepage for more North Devon news.