WHITEHALL has ordered 4,000 civil servants to quit their day jobs and prioritise preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
Officials that work across five departments such as education, justice and welfare are among thousands of staff being told to take up new roles within a matter of weeks as the March 29 cut-off date for when Britain could crash out of the EU without a deal draws ever closer. None of the civil servants are being replaced and the intense period of planning and preparation is expected to last six months. Ministers have been ordered to to reduce demands on their departments, The Times reports. Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary at the education department, is reported to have told his staff yesterday the priority was ensuring “key services continue to operate” but other areas of the department’s work are likely to be dormant.
He said: “Please, if you feel able, put yourselves forward to help the civil service with the vital work that needs to be done now to maximise the sequences of a no-deal exit.”
He also said he was “in discussion” with Education Secretary Damian Hinds about “what this cold mean for our work”.
The 4,000 civil servants will now make no deal their primary focus, with thousands more expected to be working on it on the sidelines.