United Kingdom 'will pay' Brexit divorce bill to EU

Almost half of businesses operating in Britain's food supply chain say European Union workers are thinking about leaving because of uncertainty around Brexit, an industry survey showed yesterday.

The EU says progress must be made on these issues - also including the Irish border and the rights of EU citizens in the United Kingdom - before the two sides can move on to discussing trade deals.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said European Union workers were concerned about their right to remain in the UK.

In an even more worrying signal to the United Kingdom government, 17% of respondents said they would consider relocating overseas if they were starved of access to European Union nationals, an outcome that has already been flagged by the financial community, both domestic and foreign.

The Government policy paper did not address proposed action for maintaining United Kingdom and USA data flows following Brexit.

The UK, said one official, had to take responsibility for Brexit and how it affected Ireland. "But I'm certainly saying that we have to meet our legal obligations as we understand them and that's what you'd expect the British government to do".

The report stressed the need for greater discussion regarding the possible damage that Brexit could cause: "We must stress the urgency for more detailed information about a new system before 2019, if it is to be implemented once the two-year Article 50 period ends".

'We should pay not a penny more, not a penny less of what we think our legal obligations amount to'.

"But - and I think this is something the United Kingdom recognised in the last round of negotiations - how to preserve that requires more thinking".

"We will have to go a lot more deeply into this this time around".

The third round of negotiations will begin next week in Brussels.

Committed Brexiteers have resisted the bill, and in March, the House of Lords' EU financial affairs sub-committee published a report explaining that the United Kingdom has no legal obligation to pay it. It highlights an example from October 2014 and September 2015, where the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) received 800 requests for financial intelligence from EU Member States. "The UK paper is very good on aspirations but short on workable solutions".

London said it did not want to reintroduce border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"We look forward to the Commission setting out its position and response to these proposals".

  • Jack Mann