EU Bailout Bill Is [Pounds Sterling]500 per Family; Total Soars after Osborne Agrees Portuguese Deal

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Byline: Tim Shipman Deputy Political Editor

EVERY family in Britain will contribute [pounds sterling]500 to bail out the euro after George Osborne last night signed up to a rescue fund for Portugal. The Chancellor and fellow finance ministers agreed a Europe-wide [pounds sterling]68billion deal to prop up the single currency by rescuing Portugal, which will cost UK taxpayers [pounds sterling]4.3billion.

The deal, which will be formally signed at a meeting in Brussels this morning, brings the total liability for the UK to [pounds sterling]12.5billion from the three financial rescue efforts so far - or [pounds sterling]500 per family.

The UK has already forked out [pounds sterling]7billion to help the Irish Republic and a further [pounds sterling]1.2billion through the International Monetary Fund during the first bailout of Greece last year.

The one bit of good news for British taxpayers is that Mr Osborne last night got fellow EU governments to sign off an agreement that the UK will not have to contribute to any further bailouts after 2013. That could save taxpayers up to [pounds sterling]57billion if the single currency continues to have problems.

But with the prospect of a second bailout for the bankrupt Greek economy looming on the horizon taxpayers may not get immediate relief from saving the single currency.

Last year, in the dying days of the Labour government, then Chancellor Alistair Darling signed Britain up to an EUwide bailout fund that does not expire until 2013.

Mr Osborne has insisted that he does not wish to get dragged into a bailout of Greece. But he may have no choice. There is [pounds sterling]1.4billion of British money left in the EU bailout fund, which could be used to prevent the Greeks defaulting on last year's debts. If the IMF also chipped in, that would bring UK liabilities to [pounds sterling]2.6billion.

And it would bring the total forked out to [pounds sterling]15.1billion, the equivalent of [pounds sterling]604 for every family in the land. …