25 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Brexit workforce reaches thousands

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The Permanent Secretary of the Department of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Jon Thompson (pictured) has told MPs that HMRC had already hired 2,300 extra Public Servants to prepare for the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit).

He said that number could increase to 5,300 if the UK failed to reach a withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Giving evidence to the Exiting the EU Committee alongside other Departmental chiefs, Mr Thompson said HMRC would spend £260 million (A$474 million) this financial year on Brexit preparations.

He said that if the UK strikes a Brexit deal with the EU before March, HMRC expected to spend £400 million (A$729 million) next year, rising to £450 million (A$820 million) in a no-deal scenario.

Mr Thompson had earlier received death threats after he estimated the cost of Brexit to the country’s business community.

The Government’s Chief Non-Executive Director, Sir Ian Cheshire said the Public Service was facing “one of the major peacetime challenges” as time ran out to prepare for no deal.

Sir Ian told the Committee that 3,000 extra PS staff had been appointed across the whole of the Service since April to assist with Brexit preparations.

He said he expected some 16,000 to be hired in total over two years to help cope with Brexit.

Sir Ian said uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit negotiations was a major concern across the Public Service.

“We are ready to go at a point when we can get the signal to move, but the Civil Service is hamstrung because we don’t have the clarity of that decision,” he said.

London, 20 October 2018

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