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Defra hires staff to cope with the Brexit challenge

Defra is recruiting staff to focus on the substantial work related to the implications of Brexit, reversing the Whitehall trend of contraction.

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It is advertising for new roles including two-year fixed contracts for policy team leaders, offering a £45,690 salary.

Responding to an MRW request, a Defra spokesperson said: “Many roles within Defra are now supporting EU exit-related work.

“The department has set up an EU Exit programme to coordinate this work and is identifying and filling vacancies on a rolling basis.”

The department had cut staff by 18% since 2010-11 as part of the Government’s austerity drive, prompting concerns over its ability to handle the transfer of EU environmental legislation into UK law.

It said itself in a submission to a House of Lords enquiry published this week that the department had a “significant challenge” transferring more than 1,100 core pieces of directly applicable EU legislation.

MRW reported in September that more than 50 of Defra’s 560 Environment Agency staff in the policy team covering environment and business had taken up Whitehall’s ‘early leaving’ scheme.

In October, environment secretary Andrea Leadsom defended the department’s continued staff cuts and maintained there was room for further efficiency savings.

MRW understands Defra is one of few departments actively recruiting staff, with most continuing to cut the workforce.

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