U.K.'s Brexit Bill Could Be as Low as $6.5 Billion, Study SaysBy
Chartered accountants group says bill could reach $39 billion
Sums lower than those cited by EU officials ahead of talks
The U.K. may have to pay as little as 5 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) or no more than 30 billion pounds to leave the European Union, according to a study by the country’s chartered accountancy industry that’s sure to thrill Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
The sum contained in a report released this week by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales is well below the 60 billion euros, the equivalent of 52 billion pounds, often mooted by EU officials and the 100 billion euros mentioned more recently.
"Ultimately the amount the UK will pay on or after its departure will be a matter of negotiation," Michael Izza, the group’s chief executive, said in a blog. "However, we would like to see both sides agree on the bill sooner rather than later, so that attention can be focused on more important aspects of the negotiations."
The bill is set to be an early flashpoint in the upcoming divorce talks. EU leaders say they won’t move on to discussing the trade deal May wants until she has agreed to settle financial commitments.
U.K. officials have said while they will cover their past obligations, they question the size and legality of the sums mentioned on the continent. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson even said last week that the EU may end up owing the U.K. money.