How much is too much? Poll suggests public split on £10bn Brexit fee

A new ICM poll for the Guardian asked voters how much would be an acceptable amount to pay the EU.

The poll, conducted between the 25th and 28th August, comes just days after a Guardian article reported that UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson admitted that the UK would have to pay a Brexit bill to the EU.

The new poll asked voters how acceptable different amounts would be.

If the UK had to pay the EU £40bn (either as a one-off payment or in instalments), just 9% said this would be acceptable. A strikingly high 75% said this would be unacceptable.

When asked about a £30bn figure, 72% said it would be unacceptable in contrast with the 11% who said such a figure would be acceptable.

Poll respondents were also asked about a £20bn figure, to which 18% said would be acceptable. A total of 55% disagreed.

When it came to the figure of £10bn, respondents were split down the middle. 41% said this was acceptable compared to 40% who said it would be unacceptable.

Overall, the poll suggests that there is a significant chunk of the voting public who oppose paying even the smallest of sums, however, according to ICM, just 15% said £10bn would be acceptable in April of this year, suggesting that the public is moving in a direction that suggests they would be willing for the UK government to pay a limited amount to the EU.

To put the £10bn into context, according to UK Public Spending, the total amount spent by the UK government in the fiscal year ending in 2017 was £780bn. £44.7bn was spent on defence and £156.3bn was spent on healthcare. Overall, a sum of £10bn or even £40bn would be a relatively small part of the government’s expenditure.

The only question now is, how much will Theresa May’s government pay the EU?

The poll also put the Tories and Labour on 42% each, ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 7%.

The full results of the poll can be accessed here.