Does every month of delay on Brexit cost £1bn?

Lisa O'Carroll Brexit correspondent
Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


Boris Johnson has said that “every month of delay [of Brexit] is costing this country £1bn to stay in right now”.


This is a line that the Conservative party has used before. It was used by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and refers to the total contribution the UK makes, roughly, to the EU every month.


Neither the figure nor the claim are accurate. A delay to ratification of the withdrawal agreement does not change what the UK pays in.

Under both the Theresa May and Boris Johnson Brexit deal, the UK will continue to pay into the bloc budget until the end of 2020.

In 2018, the UK’s allocated initial contribution was £17.4bn. But a discount is applied before any money leaves Treasury coffers, owing to a rebate deal struck by Margaret Thatcher.

In 2018 this mean the contribution was £13.2bn – or just over £1bn a month.

However it is misleading to use this figure as the UK gets money directly back from the EU in the form of subsidies and payouts to EU schemes such as the common agriculture policy.

In 2018 the UK received £4.3bn from the EU, according to the Treasury.

This takes the annual net contribution to £8.9bn.


The UK pays about £750m a month to the EU. It happens whether Brexit is delayed or not. So Boris Johnson’s claim is not correct.