EU Procurement Law Costs U.K. $2.5 Billion/Year, Vote Leave Says

European Union public-procurement rules cost British taxpayers 1.69 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) a year and delay projects, according to the official campaign to get Britain out of the EU.

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Compliance with the rules delayed public projects by a combined 5,422 years in 2014 alone, Vote Leave said Thursday in an e-mailed statement. The regulations can apply regardless of the value of the contract or whether bidders are from outside the U.K., it said.

“If we vote ‘Leave’ we can scrap the EU’s foolish rules on how Whitehall runs procurement processes which add billions to the cost of government every year,” Justice Secretary Michael Gove, a former education secretary, said in the statement. “I’ve experienced first-hand in the Department for Education how these rules add significant operational costs and generate expensive delays to construction projects.”

Vote Leave is stepping up its efforts to emphasize the costs associated with EU membership as Britons gear up to vote on whether to remain in the 28-nation bloc in a June 23 referendum. While some recent polls show a close vote, others have shown a widening lead for Remain.

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