Please see below for today’s update on key Brexit news items:

  • Preparations to leave the EU have already cost the government half a billion pounds and will lead the headcount in Whitehall to balloon by at least 8,000 workers by the end of next year, the government has admitted. The Brexit secretary, David Davis, told the cabinet there had been a “significant acceleration” in work to get Britain ready for its EU departure, with 300 programmes under way across the government. (The Guardian)
  • The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator said he’s ready to intensify the pace of talks with the U.K, as the window of opportunity to begin trade talks this year is closing. “I’m ready to speed up negotiations,” Michel Barnier told reporters in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Tuesday. “We have proposed three dates, three weeks of new rounds of negotiations. In the next few hours or days, we’re working with the British delegation to find the right dates.” (Bloomberg)
  • Britain would need up to 5,000 new customs officials to cope with a “no deal” Brexit, adding to the 3,000 extra bureaucrats that have already been hired to help with leaving the EU. UK ministers were briefed on Tuesday about “accelerating” plans to deal with all possible Brexit outcomes, including a collapse in negotiations resulting in the UK leaving the EU without a deal. (Financial Times)
  • The Brexit department has refused to release key details about the 58 secret studies into how leaving the EU will impact the economy, saying officials need to make policy in a “safe space”. Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP on the Brexit committee, had asked to know the scope, terms of reference and state of completion of the work on 58 sectors of the economy, but the department refused to release the details under freedom of information laws. (The Guardian)