Danny McCance 13 Mar 2018 04:24pm

Brexit to cost Whitehall extra £400m in staff

The increased cost of civil servants may push the government Brexit bill up to £2bn by 2019

The cost of hiring new staff to accommodate the change across six departments is estimated at £400m in 2018/2019 alone, although could be “significantly higher”, according to think tank the Institute for Government (IfG).

In what the IfG calls a “loosening of the purse string” by chancellor Philip Hammond, the government has supposedly reversed reduced staff levels seen in recent years.

The IfG noted that its £400m prediction did not include the cost of recruiting or training these new staff.

The Home Office is expected to hire 1,500 new staff by September this year, while the HMRC has confirmed it may need as many as 5000 new staff to deal with the Brexit customs burden.

Another unaccounted-for cost is the £100m set aside for the Department for Exiting the European Union, which was not included in Hammond’s original £1.5bn.

The six key departments dealing with Brexit will spend approximately £400m in 2017/18 – £150m over the £250m budget allocated for this period.

This expenditure is expected to run to £900m in 2018/2019, with HMRC suggesting it will spend between £300m and £450m for 2018/2019.

As part of the Spring Statement this afternoon the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted the total cost of the Brexit divorce bill will be £37.1bn.