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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Brexit divorce bill to rise

Just when you thought that the consequences of leaving the EU could not get any worse, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tell us that the Treasury’s previous estimates of £35bn to £39bn failed to take into account an additional £10bn of costs to the government, including £3bn towards the European Development Fund, which provides overseas aid.

Their estimate that Britain could end up paying up to £50bn for the Brexit divorce bill must surely scupper any UK Government thoughts of a Brexit dividend, even if the Ministers concerned ever really believed that anyway.

As the Independent reports, Britain’s divorce bill was one of the early stumbling blocks of the Brexit talks, as many Euro-sceptics agreed with Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, that Brussels could “go whistle” over the prospect of a financial settlement:

However, the prime minister managed to secure an uneasy consensus in December when she announced the Treasury and the EU had agreed a figure around £39bn.

In a new report, the PAC said Treasury estimates missed “potentially significant” costs such as setting up new post-Brexit customs and trade arrangements and participating in EU schemes after leaving the EU, which taxpayers could pay into for years to come.

Some payments could continue up to 2064, the committee claimed, which will infuriate Brexiteers who are keen to make a clean break with the EU.

Another fine mess the Tories have got us into.

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