Theresa May agrees to pay Brexit divorce bill of up to £39bn

Posted On: 
8th December 2017

Britain and the European Union have finally agreed a Brexit divorce bill of between £35bn and £39bn.

There had been reports the figure would be closer to £50bn
PA Images

Downing Street said it was a "fair agreement", which will see the UK meet its commitments for projects it has already signed up to, as well as future liabilities such as pensions for EU staff.

The total is a significant win for Theresa May, as the bill is significantly lower than the £50bn which had previously been estimated as the final tally.

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It follows the Cabinet agreeing two weeks ago to increase the UK's offer from £20bn to £40bn. 

The divorce bill is a significant part of the deal Mrs May struck with Brussels this morning following a night of negotiations with the Conservatives' DUP partners.

It means the Brexit negotiations will be able to move onto trade talks following next week's EU Council summit.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "We expect the range to be between £35 and £39 billion. 

"We would look at it as a fair settlement of our obligations. We've always been clear that where we had commitments we would honour them. It's been a forensic process, where teams from DexEU, led by the Secretary of State, went through this line by line, but we think that we've reached a fair agreement."

The bill breaks down at around £15bn in to the EU budget until 2020, roughly £20bn as a credit facility for the EU, and approximately £3bn for pensions.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the EU had left Britain looking like "mugs"

He said: "The exit bill is way more than we need to pay... We are paying a completely gargantuan sum of money that we are not legally entitled to pay and we are doing it because the Prime Minister is desperate to find some kind of deal.

"Theresa may offered £20bn and they said ‘that’s very nice of you Mrs May but double it’. So she’s doubled it to £40bn. I’ve no doubt it will finish up at £60bn. We are dealing with completely unreasonable people. The EU is not adjusting any of its future spending plans despite the fact one of the main contributors has voted to leave and we are picking up the tab. And frankly we look like mugs."


At a press conference shortly before 7am, Mrs May said: "We've been working extremely hard this week, and as you've all seen it hasn't been easy for either side. When we met on Monday we said a deal was within reach. What we have arrived at today represents a significant improvement.

"Getting to this point has required give and take on both sides and I believe that the joint report being published is in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

"I very much welcome the prospect of moving ahead to the next phase, to talk about trade and security, and to discuss the positive and ambitious future relationship that is in all of our interests."

European Commission president Mr Juncker praised Mrs May's "determination" to get a deal done after talks dramatically broke down on Monday when Ms Foster rejected the Government's proposals for avoiding a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Mr Juncker said: "Prime Minister May has assured me that (the deal) has the backing the of UK government. I believe we have now made the breakthrough we needed"
The agreement will now be formally ratified at next week's European Council summit in Brussels.