Reality Check

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Is UK trade with the EU declining?

Reality Check

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall said: “At the moment we’re doing less trade with the European Union year-on-year - more with the rest of the world”.

The overall value of the UK’s trade with the EU has increased in most years, but if we take trade with the EU as a proportion of the UK’s total trade, there has indeed been a moderate downward trend since its peak in 1992.  

However, it’s not a completely consistent pattern. In some recent years the proportion has risen, the year-on-year changes have been fairly small, and trade with the EU is consistently around half of the UK’s overall trade.

Greens ask if Article 50 can be reversed

Reality Check

Jonathan Bartley, the co-leader of the Green Party, referred to an ongoing case in Dublin, which is seeking to refer to the European Court of Justice the question of whether the triggering of Article 50 can be reversed. 

We looked into the issue of whether the UK can change its mind on Article 50 here .

Scottish budget gap

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During his interview with Andrew Neil, Jeremy Corbyn said he was against a second referendum on Scottish independence because “there is a £15bn gap between Scottish taxation income and the requirements of Scottish public services”. That is essentially the gap between how much the Scottish Government spends and what it raises through tax.

Scottish government statistics say the Labour leader is right. In 2014-15 Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £53.7bn - the equivalent of £10,000 per person, and about £400 per person lower than the UK as a whole. Meanwhile, total expenditure by the public sector was £68.6bn. Overall, that’s a gap of £14.9bn between revenue and expenditure.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the "foundations of the Scottish economy remain strong" and that “Scotland's long-term economic success is now being directly threatened by the likely impact of Brexit".

You can read more here.

Referendum on Brexit deal

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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is talking about the second referendum his party wants to hold on the terms of the Brexit deal. 

This is constitutionally possible, but the government has no plans to hold one and the question of whether Article 50 is irrevocable is the subject of legal dispute.

Among the least equal in Europe?

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Jeremy Corbyn says: "We have great levels of inequality in Britain – amongst the greatest in Europe."

A European Commission study on inequality from 2015 looked into different measures of inequality across the EU

The most widely used measure for income inequality is the Gini coefficient. On that measure, the UK is doing better than 15 other EU countries, and worse than 12 others. 

Inequality is greatest in Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Baltic states, Portugal, Romania, Greece and Spain. The most equal countries are Slovenia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium and Slovakia.

Reciprocal deal on EU citizens in the UK

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The prime minister says she wants a reciprocal agreement on the rights of the EU citizens in the UK and the UK citizens in the EU as early as possible.

The mood in Brussels is similar: sorting out the rights of the 3.16m EU citizens who live here and about 900,000 UK passport holders who live in the EU is a priority there too.

But the reciprocal deal will be complex and will have to cover things like access to healthcare and pensions.

£50bn exit fee?

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Andrew Neil has been asking about the possibility of the UK having to pay a £50bn exit fee on leaving the EU.

The prime minister wouldn’t discuss figures and stressed that people had voted to stop making large annual payments to the EU. But she didn’t rule out paying an exit fee and she said the UK is a law-abiding nation and that the government would have to look at what its obligations are.

She also said there had been no formal demands, which is not surprising as the official negotiations have not yet started.

Here’s a Reality Check on where that figure comes from. 

Net migration well over 100,000

Reality Check

Passport control at Gatwick
Getty Images

Theresa May has been talking about net migration to the UK, which her party aspires to get below 100,000 a year.

The figure is still well over that level, dipping under 300,000 in the year to September 2016 , although the figures are imprecise, as we discussed in this Reality Check .

Benefits of trade

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In her interview with Andrew Neil, the prime minister said the UK would get the same benefits on trade outside the EU as inside: “It will be a different relationship, but I think it can have the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade.” 

That sounds quite similar to what Brexit Secretary David Davis told the House of Commons on 24 January – that the government was aiming for a trade and customs arrangement with the “exact same benefits” as we currently have. 

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, seems to disagree: he told a committee of the EuropeanParliament last week that by choosing to leave the single market and the Customs Union, the UK would “find itself in a less favourable situation than that of a member state”.

The full interview with Theresa May will be shown on BBC1 at 7pm.