This is how much the UK really paid the EU each week last year

 
Catherine Neilan
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Boris Johnson And Gisela Stuart Aboard The Leave Campaign Bus
Source: Getty

It was a critical part of the Leave campaign, but new figures confirm the UK doesn't pay £350m a week to be a member of the European Union - in fact, the sum is less than half that.

The UK made a net payment of roughly £156m a week for the last financial year - which included the EU referendum last June - Treasury data shows.

The total amount for the 12 months to March 2017 was £8.1bn, the lowest in five years, and down more than a quarter on the previous period when adjusted for inflation.

Before taking into account the rebate, the UK's gross contribution to the EU budget in 2016/17 was £16.9bn, or around £325m a week.

The rebate in 2016/17 was £4.8bn, and once the EU's payments to the UK public sector are also subtracted, it takes the total down to £8.1bn. This figure does not include payments made by the EU directly to private sector organisations such as universities, which receive between £1-£1.5bn, according to a recent briefing paper.

In the run up to last year's referendum, the Leave campaign centred around claims we paid £350m to the bloc each week - though this was criticised by statistical authorities for not taking into account the rebate.

The campaign insisted the money would be handed to the NHS if we left the EU, but just hours after the results of the vote came through, Nigel Farage said this promise had been "a mistake".

Today the Lib Dem's Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "Not only have the Brexiteers failed to stump up this extra cash, but it turns out the UK's contribution to the EU was less than half what they claimed. This contribution pales in comparison to the economic benefits we get from being part of the single market and customs union."

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