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Thu, 1 October 2020

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EXCL Millions of pounds added to Foreign Office wage bill after Brexit vote

EXCL Millions of pounds added to Foreign Office wage bill after Brexit vote
2 min read

Brexit has added millions of pounds to the Foreign Office wage bill due to the fall in the value of the Pound, campaigners have claimed.

Figures released under Freedom of Information and passed to PoliticsHome show that the cost of employing UK government staff in Eurozone countries has jumped from £29m in 2015/16 to £33.6m in 2016/17.

The data was uncovered by the Best for Britain campaign group, which wants the UK to stay in the European Union.

They blamed the value of the Pound, which has slumped from 1.37 euros in 2015 to 1.22 in 2016, for the increased cost to British taxpayers.

Best for Britain chief executive Eloise Todd said: "Not only has Boris Johnson failed to deliver on his promise of an additional £350m a week if people voted for Brexit, his policies are actually costing us money.

"This increase in just one part of the costs of government is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Brexit is putting up prices in the shops, increasing taxes through higher VAT receipts, discouraging investment in new jobs and skills and threatening hopes of any lasting economic recovery."

But a Foreign Office spokesman said the higher wage bill was because of an increase in staff numbers.

He said: "Following the vote to leave the EU, we strengthened our embassies across Europe by creating around 50 new diplomatic positions and recruiting a small number of new local staff.

"This will help to support a successful negotiation and exit, and lead to increased bilateral engagement with our European partners."

The figures emerged a day after it was revealed that the Government is employing up to 8,000 extra staff to cope with Brexit.

Nearly 3,000 new posts have already been created - including jobs for 300 lawyers to comb over the legal ramifications of leaving the EU.

In addition, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is set to recruit between 3,000 and 5,000 new members of staff next year.


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