Nearly 3,000 civil servants hired to work on Brexit

David Davis says departments are preparing 300 Brexit-related programmes to be implemented with or without a deal

David Davis, permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, has confirmed new hires in government. Photo: PA

By Tamsin.Rutter

31 Oct 2017

Government has created nearly 3,000 new civil service posts to support work on leaving the European Union, David Davis told the Cabinet today.

Updating his colleagues on Britain’s preparedness for leaving the EU, the Brexit secretary said the new positions had been introduced across Whitehall and in specialist functions, including 300 lawyers who were recruited last year.

The government confirmed that it expected the number of Brexit-related roles to increase next year, with HMRC expecting up to 5,000 new hires. 

It added that departments are currently working on 300 Brexit-related programmes – including training staff and designing new IT systems – each of which has a range of delivery models that depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU.


In a lobby briefing this afternoon, a No 10 spokesman said Davis had noted that Brexit planning was a “huge cross-government effort”.

The spokesman added: “Nearly 3,000 new posts have now been created in support of EU exit across government – including in specialist functions. For example, 300 additional lawyers have been recruited to the Government Legal Department in the last year.

“The government expects the number of posts to continue to grow next year as we move into the next phase of delivery. HMRC have confirmed that they will recruit an additional 3,000 to 5,000 staff next year.”

HMRC’s chief executive Jon Thompson told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee last week that the tax agency would need to employ up to 5,000 extra staff if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

He also said while HMRC had enough money this year, it would have to ask for “significantly more” next year, and if the UK leaves the EU without a deal it could need up to £450m extra to boost capacity.

The Treasury committed more than £250m from reserve funds to departments like HMRC, the Home Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport for Brexit preparations in the 2017-18 financial year.

The Treasury has so far pledged more than half a billion to Brexit preparations in total.

The No 10 spokesman added that Davis had said there’d been a “significant acceleration” in Brexit preparations in recent months, many of which are needed regardless of the deal the UK manages to negotiate – such as investment in new systems and customs officers by HMRC.

The spokesman said: “Departments are preparing detailed delivery plans for each of the [circa] 300 programmes under way across government and these are monitored closely by DExEU and the Cabinet Office.

“Each of these plans prepares the country for the range of negotiated outcomes and a ‘no deal’ scenario for a policy area affected by the UK leaving the EU.

“The plans set out detailed delivery timelines including, for example, to recruit and train new staff; to design and procure IT systems; and to deliver the necessary legislative and regulatory changes."

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