play_circle_filled In progress

Brexit and Europe Brexit and Europe

Determine a fair settlement for leaving the EU

Last updated: 02:52pm 14 October 2019

We will determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU. The principle, however, is clear: the days of Britain making vast annual contributions to the European Union will end.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.36

Our verdict

The EU wants the UK to settle it’s share of costs when it leaves the EU. The settlement, or “divorce bill” is included financial commitments plus costs incurred from Brexit (such as relocating EU organisations out of the UK).

Based on discussions with the EU so far, the divorce bill is expected to be around £39 billion. But that’s assuming that the UK leaves under similar conditions to the draft withdrawal agreement. That deal has been rejected (three times) by Parliament. So we don’t have a deal. As things stand now, we’ll either leave the EU on October 31st with a new deal, or a further extension will be requested to give more time to consider our options.

If a deal is achieved, and assuming the divorce bill doesn’t change, we’ll also need to answer the questions as to whether £39 billion is a “fair” settlement? To answer that, we’ll be looking for a range of opinion.

If we leave without a deal, it’s likely the UK would pay nothing – or at least try to. It’s not entirely clear. There would most probably be disputes over any existing commitments made while the UK was still a member of the EU. So the promise to get a fair settlement will still apply, even if we leave without a deal.

As with most things Brexit, we’ll have to wait until we know the conditions under which we are leaving the EU. For now this is ‘in progress’. We’ll update this page as soon as there are any significant developments. Follow this policy for updates.

Useful articles

Related policy

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.