The Ministry of Justice spent almost £10m preparing for Brexit in advance of the statutory 29 March leaving date, the Gazette has discovered.
The figure, disclosed following a freedom of information request, covers the 12-month period leading up to and including that date.
The MoJ started monitoring Brexit preparation activities from April 2018, with any spending before that date not recorded separately. In total, £9.7m was spent during the year on preparing for Brexit with or without a deal (the response grouped both eventualities together). In total, 145 full-time MoJ civil servants were assigned to working on EU exit-related activity as of March 2019.
The Gazette understands that MoJ spending covered staff costs, travel, training, recruitment, and legal, analytical, financial and consultancy support. Additional funding was allocated by the Treasury to all departments for preparation work covering an exit with and without a deal.
It was reported following the aborted 29 March exit date that the government had a total of 6,000 civil servants specifically preparing for a no-deal Brexit, at an estimated cost of £1.5bn. This operation was stood down following the extension, but the MoJ has confirmed that work continues to ensure ‘all preparations’ are in place for the UK to leave the EU by the current deadline of 31 October.