Friday, 25 March 2011
£300 for every family...the bill for bailing out Portugal
British taxpayers could be forced to pay £6billion to bail out Portugal, it emerged last night.
Every family could be liable for £300 of the costs under Brussels plans to prop up the ailing EU nation.
As the UK’s oldest ally teetered on the brink of financial collapse last night, David Cameron attended an EU summit where European leaders discussed the prospect of saving it from bankruptcy.
A bailout like those for Ireland and Greece is seen as virtually inevitable after Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates resigned on Wednesday night when opposition parties refused to back his austerity budget.
Labour chancellor Alistair Darling signed Britain up to an EU-wide bailout fund last year, which has left the UK exposed to billions of pounds in liabilities until the fund closes in 2013.
The £53billion stability fund has about £33billion left, after £20billion was sent to help Ireland.
If the entire fund were used to help Portugal, Britain would be liable for £4.5billion if the Portuguese defaulted.
But Britain would also have to give another £1.5billion through the International Monetary Fund.
That would take Britain’s contribution to £6billion, which amounts to £100 for every man, woman and child in Britain, according to calculations by Open Europe.