Is the £1.7bn EU top-up bill row overshadowing the government’s even bigger EU bill?

Is the the storm over EU demands for £1.7bn for budget contributions overshadowing a massive surge in UK payments to the EU?

David Cameron has insisted Britain will not pay the £1.7bn figure and has made it clear he is even willing to risk fines in order to cut the figure.

He has publicly said that it is an “unprecedented” amount.

The bill stems from a recalibration of the UK’s GDP measurements that bring it in line with other EU members.

As Britain’s GDP figures have been raised by the recalibration, the contributions it must pay to Brussels has increased.

Amid the political noise, however, it has emerged that over the past five years, British payments to the EU have more than doubled, reaching more than £8bn a year.

According to the Financial Times, the GDP recalculations mean that over the 12-year-period the £1.7bn EU bill covers, the additional payment would only have been £150m a year.

But this comes on top of the large amount the UK is already paying to Brussels – nearer to £4bn a year over the period.

Cameron may be continuing his mission to cut the EU’s £1.7bn top-up bill, but if he feels so strongly about the amount the UK pays, why isn’t he making any noise about the rising overall payments the UK is making?

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