Why we left! Britain sent £15.8 BILLION to EU last year including £1bn Brexit revenge tax

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The latest data, published by the Office for National Statistics, showed the Government was forced to inject a gross payment of £304 million from taxpayers every week to the bloc’s financial coffers. The figure would have been £4.4 billion higher without the hard-fought rebate secured by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the EU’s Fontainebleau summit in 1984. Analysis in the ONS’ annual Pink Book publication showed £5.2 billion was returned to the UK last year under the EU’s spending plans, giving a net contribution of £10.6 billion.

The significant delay to Britain’s departure from the bloc meant the country’s net contribution was £1 billion more than in 2018.

Prominent Brexiteer and Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “It’s our leaving present from the EU, it was never going to be an amicable divorce. 

“It’s why we’re leaving, it’s why we voted to leave and thankfully, we won’t have a bill like this next year. 

“But did you expect anything different from the EU? It’s all too predictable. The EU and Remainers in Parliament have only delayed our departure and cost the UK taxpayer dear.”

Britain finally left the EU in January this year, 10 months after our original scheduled divorce date in March 2019.

The extra cash could have been used to provide more than 300,000 grants to businesses during the latest national lockdown or spent on the 20 hospital upgrades promised as part of the Conservative’s 2019 election manifesto. 

Britain will pay a similar amount to Brussels this year as part of the post-Brexit transition out of the bloc’s rules.

Under last year’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, taxpayers’ cash will continue to be sent to the bloc until 2064.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated the so-called Brexit bill will cost the country around £33 billion once the final payment is made.

Meanwhile wrangling over the post-Brexit trade agreement has continued in Brussels across the weekend.

Lord Frost, the Prime Minister’s Brexit envoy, and EU counterpart Michel Barnier could make a decision on whether to once again extend the talks as early as next week.

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French Europe minister Clement Beaune told the BBC he was confident an agreement can still be found within the coming days.

And Irish premier Micheal Martin insisted a Brexit deal would help both sides cushion the blow from a “second shock” in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “The last thing we need now is a second shock. It would be incomprehensible to me to expose our citizens to such a shock.

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“As political leaders, we are responsible for the people we represent. From our perspective, that means limiting the damage caused by Brexit.

“The optimal outcome would be a comprehensive free trade agreement. That requires political will on both sides.”

Mr Martin said the outstanding issues remain future common standards, including on state aid, and access to Britain’s fishing grounds.

“Fisheries remains difficult,” he added.

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