Brexit will cost Revenue and Customs an extra £200m a year, top civil servant says
Taxpayers face a £200m annual bill for thousands of extra staff recruited by HM Revenue and Customs to deal with Brexit, its top civil servant has said.
Jon Thompson also revealed around 40-60% of his time is now spent dealing with the consequences of the vote to leave the EU.
HMRC will play a crucial role in Britain's domestic transition to life outside the EU as it is responsible for tax, including customs duties levied on imports, and how the border works to ensure they are collected.
Asked how much time he was spending on Brexit, Mr Thompson told the Commons Exiting the EU Committee: "It's significant.
"When I took this job the then-chancellor of the exchequer asked me to obviously, clearly, run HMRC, and then go through what is regarded as the largest organisational transformation programme in Europe, and then we decided to leave the European Union, and that was added on.
You may also want to watch:
"I would guess it's somewhere between 40 and 60% of my week."
He went on: "We have employed 340 extra people so far and my estimate is that in the end it'll be somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 - probably at the upper end of that range."
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 3 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 4 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 5 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 6 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 7 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 8 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 9 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 10 Boris Johnson and Priti Patel urged to end 'attacks' on lawyers in letter by 800 legal professionals
Asked about the cost, he said: "It's in the order of £200 million extra in addition to our current budget."
Mr Thompson told MPs he was "very confident" that a new customs system would be introduced by Brexit day in March 2019, but refused to guarantee that there would not be problems.
The number of customs declarations which HMRC must process each year is expected to increase almost five-fold after Brexit, from 55 million to 255 million, and the new Customs Declaration Service is being built to deal with 300 million.
Asked about the chances of it going wrong, Mr Thompson said: "It's extremely low that it won't work, but ultimately that's why I won't give you a guarantee, because to be slightly 'Rumsfeldian' about it, you don't know what you don't know.
"It's £157 million technology project, it's meeting all its milestones and targets, but technology projects sometimes go wrong for things that you don't foresee."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.