Big rise in Defra staff numbers to deliver Brexit

Defra has reversed years of declining staff numbers as it copes with the extra workload of delivering Brexit.

Six key departments will have spent approximately £400m on Brexit by the end of 2017/18, with Defra seeing the largest increase in its spending, with almost £100m approved by the Treasury for its EU exit work, according to a report by the Institute for Government.

At the time of the EU referendum, the civil service was at its smallest since the Second World War, and 20% smaller than at the start of the Coalition Government in 2010. Defra lost more than one in three members of staff between 2010 and 2016, but since the Brexit vote staff numbers have grown by around 65%.

By the end of this month it is due to have taken on an extra 1,200 people working directly on Brexit, as it seeks to develop a domestic agricultural policy to replace the Common Agriculture Policy.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.