The government just revealed how many millions it’s spent on Brexit so far. And we’ve still got 17 months to go.

Davis May Brexit
Steve Topple

On Thursday 26 October, the government quietly released the figures for how much it has spent on administering Brexit so far. And considering we’re only seven months into the two-year Article 50 process, it looks like the bill for leaving the EU is going to be rather large. Because the government is forecasting that Brexit will cost it a third of a billion pounds just to administer. Never mind the reported tens of billions of pounds the ‘Brexit divorce bill’ could cost.

The cost so far

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) has released its full accounts [pdf] for 2016/17. And they reveal the scale of what has been spent on Brexit already.

In 2016/17, the DExEU spent a total of £24.2m [pdf, p15] relating to Brexit. The largest costs came from [pdf, p16]:

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  • Staff costs: these were £14m, or 58% of expenditure.
  • Legal fees: in total, these cost the DExEU £3.7m.
  • Accommodation: the DExEU spent £3.4m on rooms for its staff.
  • IT cost the department £1.2m.

But look deeper into the figures and they show what the DExEU has spent so far, and what it’s budgeting to spend up until March 2020.

Nice work if you can get it

Of the 209 employees [pdf, p40] of the DExEU, the median salary was £48,000 [pdf, p34]. The highest paid person in the department was Oliver Robbins, the Permanent Secretary to the DExEU, who is on £160,000-£165,000 a year [pdf, p31]. Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary David Davis gets an additional £67,505 a year [pdf, p31] on top of his £74,962 as an MP.

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A third of a billion Brexit divorce bill

The £24.2m the DExEU spent in 2016/17 was against a budget [pdf, p15] of £49.4m; so an underspend of £25.2m. But the government is forecasting future costs will be much higher. In total, it has budgeted [pdf, p50] £322,774,000 to see the UK through the Brexit process, up until 2020.

With Davis still refusing to release reports on the estimated economic impact of Brexit, the cost of leaving the EU will become more and more of an issue. And the DExEU spending hundreds of millions just to administer Brexit will surely raise eyebrows among those who voted ‘Remain’.

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