The government has admitted that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will need to hire between 3,000 and 5,000 extra staff to be “ready for all scenarios” following Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The FDA has been calling on the government to invest in HMRC’s capacity and capability since the vote to leave the EU, and General Secretary Dave Penman welcomed the government’s “long overdue” move to “finally face up to the realities of Brexit”.
“As we have been warning since the referendum result last year, if the civil service is to deliver the best outcome for the UK, the government needs to provide it with the capacity and capability to deliver,” Penman said. But he warned that “the devil will be in the detail” and called for the government to provide more clarity on how the new jobs would be funded.
In addition to announcing plans for new Brexit staff, HMRC Permanent Secretary Jon Thompson appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 20 November and revealed that he is still waiting to be awarded funding to upgrade the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system to ensure the UK is prepared to handle the expected increase in customs declarations after Brexit.
In a strong chaallenge to the Treasury, Thompson told the committee: “Just to be really clear, it is going to happen and I am going to spend the money, whether I get the funding or not.”