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Chancellor urged to explain funding

SNP demands emergency budget over Brexit deal

Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond: allocated only £3bn to Brexit plans

SNP backbenchers have called on the Chancellor to bring forward an emergency Budget to resolve how the UK government intends to fund its €50 billion EU divorce bill.

Opposition MPs are leading demands for clarity on where the money will come from and whether it will mean cuts to public services.

During an Urgent Question today in Westminster, the SNP’s Economy spokesperson Kirsty Blackman warned that last week’s Budget did not make provision for the UK paying billions towards the divorce bill.

She said: “Just last week in the Budget, the Chancellor told us that the UK government has already spent £700 million on Brexit preparations, with a further £3bn allocated towards its plans. Now we are told the UK government has agreed to pay a figure of around €50 billion to the EU over the divorce settlement.

“Given that last week’s Budget did not make provision for this divorce bill figure, the Chancellor must now bring forward an emergency Budget to clarify the breakdown of the payment and what services and departments will be facing the axe to make way for a Tory hard Brexit. Or has the Chancellor been so lucky as to find two magic money trees in one year?”

There has been no final agreement on a number but the offer is said to have been given a “broad welcome” by Brussels.

No 10 has played down reports the final sum could be up to 55bn euros (£49bn).

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK would make a “fair offer” to help break the current deadlock.

“Now is the moment to get the whole ship off the rocks and move it forwards,” he said during a trip to Ivory Coast, where he is attending a meeting of European and African leaders.

Mr Johnson said he would “not get into the figures” but said all sides wanted to see progress to the next phase of negotiations and discussions on a transition and future relationship.

Ms Blackman said the situation was quickly deteriorating into chaos.

“Nobody in the UK voted for this disastrous and disorganised EU exit – and certainly not for a Brexit that costs around €50 billion in order to get a worse off deal than the one we have now as members of the crucial Single Market and customs union.

“Once again, devolved administrations have been shunned to the side-lines as the UK government negotiates with the EU – with zero consultation on the amount owed to the EU, and in turn, the services that will likely be facing cuts to pay for this government’s shambolic Brexit plans. 

“We are a far cry from the promise of the £350m a week for the NHS made by leading Brexit Cabinet ministers.

“Instead, what we face are rising costs, decline in growth and investment, and a hit to the UK’s economy. The Chancellor must make clear that our crucial public services do not pay the price for the UK government’s chaotic plans – or lack of.”

Barclays chairman John McFarlane told the House of Lords financial affairs sub-committee that depending on the shape of the deal, the loss of banks’s rights to offer services in the EU could lead to a “very significant loss of tax revenue”.

The effect of Brexit on Barclays’ jobs is not likely to be more “hundreds of jobs”, he said, but there will be “more pull” on jobs than the bank would like to see.

A more significant effect, depending on the deal, is the possibility of having to renegotiate hundreds of thousands of contracts.

He added Brexit was happening when the bank was having to deal with factors such as the rise of mobile banking and cyber security issues.

See also:

Pound recovers as deal ‘agreed’

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