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Philip Hammond: UK will make proposals to EU on Brexit ‘divorce bill’

Philip Hammond: UK will make proposals to EU on Brexit ‘divorce bill’

Britain will make proposals to the European Union on the so-called Brexit “divorce bill” in the next three-and-a-half weeks, Chancellor Philip Hammond has indicated.
Mr Hammond has said there is a “very high value” in having a close trade relationship with the EU after Brexit, as the UK faces demands to spell out its offer to Brussels on the financial settlement.
European Council president Donald Tusk has set a deadline of the start of December for Britain to make further movement on the divorce bill and Irish border in order to unlock trade talks.
The Chancellor said he was sure the Government would make its offer in time for the December 14-15 European Council summit to try and persuade EU leaders to declare “sufficient progress” has been made for trade negotiations to begin.
“The Prime Minister is clear that we will meet our obligations to the European Union and as you know, we want to make progress in the discussions at the December Council at the European Union and the Europeans have asked us for more clarity on what we mean by meeting our obligations,” Mr Hammond told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.
“We will make our proposals to the European Union in time for the Council, I am sure about that.”
Mr Hammond promised Britain would honour its debts but also “negotiate hard” on the various aspects of the financial settlement.
“It’s not about demands, it’s about what is properly due from the UK to the European Union under international law in accordance with the European treaties,” he said.
“And we have always been clear it won’t be easy to work out that number, but whatever is due we will pay, we are a nation that honours our debts.
“And of course we will negotiate hard whether there is any question, any doubt about whether an item is payable or not.”
Mr Hammond also underlined the urgent need to secure a post-Brexit implementation period in the next few months, acknowledging it is a “wasting asset” that will have less value the later it is agreed.
Asked about suggestions that the EU may not agree an implementation period until next October, the Chancellor said: “It will still be useful but it will be much less useful for everybody than it is now because by that stage people will have started to make alternative supply arrangements, British companies that are importing components from the European Union may have had to break those arrangements and start sourcing elsewhere.
“Government agencies will have had to start putting in place contingency arrangements for Brexit in March 2019.”
He added: “It is a wasting asset and that’s why it’s in everybody’s interest that we get the implementation agreement as soon as possible.”

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