Brexit: Whitehall gets 3,000 new staff as planning ramps up

3 месяца ago Admin 0
Boris Johnson and other cabinet ministers leaving Tuesday's meetingImage copyright AFP
Image caption The Cabinet discussed Brexit at Tuesday’s meeting

The UK is ramping up its Brexit preparations, Downing Street has said, with nearly 3,000 new roles being created in the civil service.

The cabinet discussed planning for the UK’s departure at a meeting earlier.

No 10 said Theresa May and her ministers had discussed a range of «negotiated outcomes» with the focus on securing a «bold and ambitious deal».

The Treasury has set aside £500m for Brexit preparations, £250m of which has been already earmarked for 2018.

Chancellor Philip Hammond was criticised by some MPs for suggesting last month that financial preparations for the possibility of a no-deal outcome would only begin at the last minute.

Following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Downing Street said Whitehall was accelerating its preparations for the UK’s departure in March 2019 by hiring 3,000 new staff in Brexit-related role, including 300 lawyers.

Revenue and Customs could also recruit between 3,000 and 5,000 extra staff.

Up to 300 different programmes of work relating to Brexit were being pursued, No 10 said.

The BBC’s Iain Watson said although Downing Street was insisting that the government «would be ready for all scenarios», the tone at cabinet was the UK is «working towards a deal».

Downing Street was criticised on Monday for not publishing details of assessments into the impact of Brexit on different sectors of the economy after revealing that 58 different studies had been conducted.

Former chancellor Ken Clarke said their publication would make for an «informed debate», saying that the «suspicion» would be that they contained things that the government «does not want the public to see».

Mr Clarke also defended his decision to hold a meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One that he, former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour peer Lord Adonis were «of course not negotiating» with Mr Barnier but wanted to bring themselves «up to date» with the full implications of the UK’s departure from the EU.

While he claimed that many EU politicians were «baffled» by the UK’s negotiating objectives, he said he believed that Mr Barnier did want to recommend that a second phase of talks on the UK’s future relationship with the EU should begin in December.