CIPFA conference: other government projects 'should be parked' to deal with Brexit

14 Jul 17

A number of government projects should be sidelined to allow resources and manpower to be diverted to deal with Brexit, Bernard Jenkin told the CIPFA conference.

The Conservative MP and chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs select committee made the comments at the annual conference in Manchester yesterday afternoon.

In a discussion about the progress of the Brexit negotiations the pro-leave MP said “the overall concept” of leaving and the European Union withdrawal bill which was published yesterday were “very clear” and “going well”.

However he did acknowledge that transitioning from EU membership was going to be incredibly complex due to the “sheer number of tasks that needs to be done”, adding that it was “not good” that certain decisions had not been made, thus building uncertainty.

Jenkins said: “My personal view is that what we will see over the next few months is government accelerating very rapidly the number of decisions that will taken to cabinet to clarify things in order to direct the effort of the civil service.

“There is another aspect to this, government was already over stretched by a very large number of programmes before Brexit and Brexit is a very significant increase in workloads for many departments, and every department in some degree and I think there is a capacity problem.”

Jenkins told delegates that the pace of decision making had to be accelerated and work had to be concentrated on Brexit.

Adding: “I think some other programmes need to be sidelined or delayed in order to make space and capacity for this extra work to be done or extra capacity needs to be brought into government somehow so these decisions can be made.”

His comments follow warnings from the FDA union for senior civil servants, which urged the government that the demands of Brexit would overstretch Whitehall and more resources were necessary.

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