27 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Brexit workers stood down

Start the conversation


About 6,000 UK Public Servants who had been working on mitigating the problems that would arise from the country leaving the European Union (Brexit) without a deal have been stood down.

Those workers who had been seconded from other Departments and Agencies will now return to their normal duties, but there is no clear role for an estimated 4,500 new recruits after the EU agreed to extend the UK’s leaving date until 31 October.

The entire exercise is believed to have cost £1.5 billion (A$3.8 billion).

Chair of Parliament’s Exiting the European Union Select Committee, Hilary Benn said that figure was a costly price to pay for Prime Minister, Theresa May’s insistence on keeping a no-deal Brexit on the table.

The stand-downs were announced in a statement from the Cabinet Office, which said they would be done in a “careful, considered and orderly way”.

A spokesperson for Ms May’s office said the Government had been preparing for more than two years to minimise any disruption in the event of no deal.

“Departments will make sensible decisions about the timing and pace at which some of this work is progressing given that the date we leave the EU has changed, but we will absolutely continue to make all necessary preparations,” the spokesperson said.

The contingency operations have impacted nearly all Departments and throughout the public sector, including police, hospitals and schools.

The work had been proceeding at a breakneck pace as deadlines for a no-deal exit changed.

Last year the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which had one of the largest no-deal workloads, spent £40,000 (A$73,000) on counselling services for stressed-out officers.

London, 9 April 2019

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.