Government spends £97 million on Brexit consultants
According to the National Audit Office, preparing for Brexit has cost the government £97 million in consultancy fees.
This figure differs from the bill disclosed by the Cabinet Office.
According to the Cabinet Office, £65 million had been set aside for consultancy fees between April 2018 and 2019.
The NAO criticised the government for a lack of transparency and for not publishing the details of these contracts “in a timely fashion.”
A key reason for the extent of this spending is the extension of various contracts which occurred when the UK’s departure date from the EU was postponed to 31 October.
Consultancy fees will continue to rise until the UK leaves the EU.
One of the key criticisms the NAO levelled at the government concerned the delay in publishing detail of these contracts with consultancy firms. Under government deadlines, departments are supposed to publish details of all contracts within 90 days.
The NAO found, however, that it took the government an average of 119 days for basic details to be released. It also found that 96 per cent of Brexit-related contracts were awarded to six consultancy firms, with Deloitte receiving 22 per cent of the contracts by value.
A spokesperson for the government defended this spending, stating that it was “often more cost-efficient to draw upon the advice of external specialists for short-term projects requiring specialist skills.”
They added: “These include EU exit priorities such as ensuring the uninterrupted supply of medical products and food to the UK.”