Ministers poised to sign off new Brexit bill offer

Helen Cahill
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Prime Minister Theresa May will discuss the divorce bill with Cabinet colleagues (Source: Getty)

Ministers are poised to sign off a new offer to the EU as the UK tries to push forward negotiations over the Brexit bill, according to reports.

Theresa May has already offered to pay €20bn to the bloc. However, this falls short of the EU's demand for a €60bn divorce settlement.

Read more: Barnier: City firms will lose financial passports after Brexit

And, today, May will meet with her Cabinet's sub-committee to discuss the European Council meeting she will attend in December.

The EU has refused to progress to talks on its future relationship with the UK until the financial settlement has been agreed, and businesses have warned the government that they need more information on the future relationship by the end of the year.

Some firms are expected to trigger their "no deal" contingency plans in the first quarter of next year if they are not provided with more information from the government.

However, Eurosceptics in the Cabinet have been averse to paying out any money to the EU, and reaction to the idea of a higher bill has been mixed.

Speaking on the BBC's Today Programme, Conservative MP Robert Halfon said: "We’ve just been talking about budget constraints, and the difficulty the chancellor has in public spending, and if we start saying that we’re going to give €40 to €50bn to the EU, I think the public will go bananas, absolutely spare.

"I voted remain because I believe in alliances of democracies in an uncertain world, but we voted to leave, the public want to leave, and I cannot believe that the public would accept such a huge amount when we need money for our schools, our hospitals, our housing, and many other things."

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