NAO to investigate ‘reasonableness’ of £39bn Brexit divorce bill by March
Auditor general Amyas Morse confirms scrutiny plans following request from Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan
The Brexit divorce bill is estimated at £35-39bn. Credit: PA
The National Audit Office has confirmed it will examine Britain’s withdrawal payment to the European Union, which the prime minister said last month would be in the region of £35-39bn.
Amyas Morse, comptroller and NAO auditor general, stated that the public spending watchdog was in discussions with the Treasury over the UK’s financial settlement with the EU and would report by March.
He said: “I can confirm that we intend to report on the main elements of the financial settlement with the EU. We are already in discussions with HM Treasury aimed at planning our work. I expect our report to be published in late March.”
- NAO: Departments running 313 separate workstreams on Brexit
- FCO strategy chief dubs no-deal Brexit ‘highly unlikely’
- HMRC forced to defend Brexit tax demands after Boris Johnson and Michael Gove criticism
The announcement was welcomed by Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan, a Conservative MP, who wrote to Morse last month requesting that it “examines the reasonableness” of the divorce bill, including the assumptions and methodologies used.
Prime minister Theresa May told Parliament in December that the UK had agreed with the EU “the scope of commitments, and methods for valuation and adjustments to those values” relating to a bill to be paid when Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.
She said current calculations put the valuation of that withdrawal payment at £35-39bn.
Morse was asked about the NAO’s role in scrutinising the payment during a Treasury committee hearing on the UK’s economic relationship with the EU in November.
He said that scrutiny of the payment depended on the shape of the settlement and how it is arrived at.
“If it is arrived at under a series of specific heads, each one of which supposedly has some value associated with it, then we would be in a position to do something in examining them,” he said.
Morse added: “At present my thinking is that we would approach it quite like a normal large transactional deal, where you examine all the elements in it and then look at how they combine for reasonableness and range of value. It is quite familiar to people in the financial sector."
Think-tank analysis identifies concessions on residency rights, a £39bn bill on the ‘...
PAC report says tax agency doesn’t yet have money to upgrade...
MPs get update on outsourced prisons contract as Cabinet Office reports public services are...
Public administration select committee announces new inquiry into risks of outsourcing following...
BT takes a look at the shifting nature of cyber threats, and how organisations can detect and...
One in four workers in the UK has financial worries. In this article, Elaine Jefferys, Money...
Microsoft shows a few of the ways that governments can turn data into insight
Negotiations are nearly over, but the real challenge of the spending review is just beginning....