Downing Street rejects Brussels' revised estimate of post-Brexit divorce bill

Downing St has rejected the EU's estimate of the UK's post-Brexit divorce bill after new figures put the total debt at £40.8bn, according to a BBC report.

The sum was published in the EU's accounts for 2020, which also state that the UK should pay the EU £5.8bn this year.

No 10 insisted the bill - which covers spending commitments made before the UK left the EU - and which stands at between £35-39bn, did not reflect "all the money owed back to the UK".

A European Commission spokesman insisted the new figure is "correct" adding: "We have already informed the UK government about the payments that they have to do with regard to the first part of this year and they've already in fact paid part of the amount concerned.

"Therefore, we have absolutely no indications at this point in time that the bill, or the amount that we've calculated will be contested."

However, responding to the higher estimate a Downing Street spokesperson said: "We don't recognise that figure, it's an estimate produced by the EU for its own internal accounting purposes.

"For example it doesn't reflect all the money owed back to the UK which reduces the amount we pay.

"Our estimate remains in the central range of between £35-39bn and we will publish full details in Parliament shortly."

During Brexit negotiations, the UK agreed to pay the EU a sum of money which covered pension contributions for EU staff as well as funding for three EU research programmes from 2021-27.

However, as part of the settlement, the EU will also pay back money the UK put into the European Investment Bank (just over £3bn) and the European Central Bank (about £50m).

The UK will also receive a share of any money paid to the EU in fines that were imposed before the end of 2020, which is estimated to be worth about £1.2bn.

Image: Par Photo: Sergeant Tom Robinson RLC/MOD, OGL v1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

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