19:29 GMT17 February 2020
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    UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been criticized by Chair of the UK Statistics Authority David Norgrove for his newspaper article, in which he claimed that Brexit will allow London to save hundreds of millions of pounds each week.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The idea that the United Kingdom would have 350 million pounds per week (about $475 million) available for social spending after Brexit is "misuse of official statistics," Norgrove said Sunday in a letter to Johnson.

    Johnson said in an article for the Daily Telegraph newspaper published on Friday that the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union would free up 350 million pounds per week, repeating a promise that was used by the Leave campaign in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

    "I am surprised and disappointed that you have chosen to repeat the figure of £350 million per week, in connection with the amount that might be available for extra public spending when we leave the European Union… It is a clear misuse of official statistics," Norgrove said.

    According to Norgrove, the use of the figure fails to take into account the difference between gross and net contributions. The head of the statistics authority explained in 2016 that the figure appeared to be based on gross contributions and did not consider the rebate or any other money flows from the bloc into the United Kingdom.

    Norgrove also pointed out that such a promise assumed that all the payments to the European Union would cease after the departure, which may not be the case.

    Brexit negotiations began on June 19, and are due to be completed by the end of March 2019.


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