According to a report released this morning by the National Audit Office, Brexit preparations have cost the British taxpayer over £4bn.
The report states that government departments have already spent at least £4.4 billion of the £6.3 billion allocated for Brexit preparations.
According to the independent spending watchdog, '£1.9 billion went towards staffing costs; £288 million was spent on expertise and external advice; and £1.5 billion on activities such as building new systems and infrastructure'.
Commenting on the report, European Movement chair Stephen Dorrell said:
“This report highlights the astounding cost of Brexit that has been hidden from the public.
The £4.4 billion already spent on Brexit preparations only represents what the government has spent, and does not take into account the costs to businesses and the public caused by the government's shifting outcomes and timetables, not to mention the Brexit process itself.
The astonishing £1.9 billion already spent on staffing costs follows on from the news last week that the government will need to recruit 50,000 new customs officers within the next six months whose job it will be to increase bureaucracy at our borders.
The report also highlights the disproportionate cost of a No deal Brexit. We already know that businesses have been saddled with significant costs due to the prolonged uncertainty of the Brexit process. This makes Boris Johnson's threats of an "Australian style" trade deal - which is really no deal in disguise - if trade negotiations are not completed by June even more worrying.
The lack of detail and limited data contained in the report is indicative of the secretive way that the government is delivering Brexit. Once again, there is an appalling lack of transparency which indicates that the government is avoiding the critique and accountability that is necessary for such a significant political event.
Boris Johnson is insisting on delivering one of the greatest constitutional changes in half a century behind smoke and mirrors, without the democratic accountability we expect of our government.”