You asked

I would like to request information in relation to the claims made by Vote Leave during the Brexit referendum debate.

  1. The figure of £350 million a week being sent to the European Union (EU), will be sent to the NHS; is this figure accurate? Would the Office for National Statistics (ONS) consider it to be inaccurate, false, misleading or dishonest?

  2. If not, how much do we actually pay per week? Please provide an accurate and straightforward summary that my legal team can use for reference.

  3. If the ONS contacted anyone from Vote Leave with regards to these claims, did they receive responses? Did Vote Leave attempt to defend their claim? If so, who contacted the ONS and can we see the correspondence?

We said

  1. In April, the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP wrote1 to the Authority regarding statements used in campaign literature by Vote Leave, the designated campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. This included a poster and other materials which said “Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week”2.

    The UK Statistics Authority concluded on 21 April 20163 that the use of the £350 million figure, which was a gross figure and did not take into account the rebate or other flows from the EU to the UK public sector (or flows to non-public sector bodies), alongside the suggestion that this could be spent elsewhere, without further explanation, was potentially misleading.

    Despite the Authority’s conclusion similar statements continued to be used in Vote Leave campaign material. On 27 May the Authority published a statement4 on the UK Statistics Authority website that the continued use of a gross figure in a context that implied it was a net figure was misleading and undermined trust in official statistics.

  2. The ONS published an article on the UK's contributions on 25 May 2016. This can be found at the appended link;

  3. Following the Authority’s correspondence with the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, the UK Statistics Authority received5 and responded6 to correspondence from Dominic Cummings, Campaign Director for Vote Leave. In this correspondence the Authority restated its conclusion that the use of the £350 million figure by the Vote Leave campaign was potentially misleading.