Brexit bill underestimated by £10bn plus, says Committee

A parliamentary committee has said that the government has underestimated the payment to be made to the European Union following Brexit by at least £10bn, according to Reuters.

Negotiations between the UK and EU have settled on a payment of between £35bn and £39bn to discharge ongoing liabilities, to be spread over the next few decades. The issue has been a political hot potato, with Brexit campaigners claiming the UK should not make any payment at all.

The Public Accounts Committee said the figure was an underestimate of the actual cost to the public and that the government needed to be more transparent.

Chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “The true cost of Brexit is a matter of outstanding public interest. Government must provide parliament and the public with clear and unambiguous information.”

Hillier continued: “Government’s narrow estimate of the so-called divorce bill does not meet this description. It omits at least 10 billion of anticipated costs with EU withdrawal and remains subject to many uncertainties.”

For example, the headline divorce bill figure does not include £3bn in payments to the European Development Fund, which provides overseas aid. The Prime Minister has confirmed that Britain will honour its commitments to the fund.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The National Audit Office confirmed in April that our estimated figure is a reasonable calculation. Now we are discussing what our future relationship looks like.”