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Tue, 4 August 2020

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Anger as Brexit department's spending on consultants tops £4m

Anger as Brexit department's spending on consultants tops £4m
2 min read

The Department for Exiting the European Union has spent more than £4m hiring in consultants ahead of Brexit, it has emerged.

New analysis shows that DExEU - which leads Whitehall's Brexit preparations - has spent £4,049,995 with outside consultancies in the less-than three years it has existed.

The figure includes almost £1.5m spent with just one firm - the Boston Consulting Group - since DExEU was set up in 2016.

The figures were unearthed by the People's Vote campaign, which is pushing for a second referendum on Britain's planned departure from the EU.

Labour MP Susan Elan Jones told the Independent: "The only people who benefit from the government’s Brexit plan are management consultants and accountants. It’s a bad deal for Britain and a much worse deal than we’ve already got in the EU.

"However many consultants the government employs to try to make this deal work, the truth is what was promised in the last referendum can’t be delivered, and the same problems will still apply to any form of Brexit, no matter how it is presented."

But a government spokesperson defended the decision to spend millions on outside advice.

"It is standard for government departments to draw on the advice of external specialists," they said.

"The Brexit negotiations are a priority for the government and we bring in expertise from outside as appropriate."

Ministers have long pledged to drive down Whitehall's reliance on outside consultants, with David Cameron bringing in fresh rules in 2010 requiring ministers to personally sign off any spending over £20,000.

It emerged earlier this year that consultancy firms had pocketed £1.6m in a single month from government contracts to help with Brexit preparations.

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