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‘Britain has not managed to cope with Brexit’

Britain has still not managed to cope with Brexit despite a huge increase in the size of its civil service, according to a new report.

A study by think tank UK in a Changing Europe has concluded that the British government does not have a coherent plan to deal with the European Union eight years after the vote to leave.

The report states that Brexit was a major factor in the hiring of 100,000 extra civil servants since the referendum in 2016.

The expansion was necessary to take over functions and responsibilities from the EU.

However, the report found that with changing ministers and political turbulence, the government has failed to come up with a strategic vision for Brexit.

There are frictions with devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which have to devise new policies from scratch.

It claims that new regulatory watchdogs are struggling with a lack of resources and threats to their independence.

These include the Office for Environmental Protection, the Foods Standards Authority and the Trade Remedy Authority the body which was set up to defend Britain against unfair competition.

The report was compiled following a series of interviews with figures inside and outside government and Senior Research Fellow Jill Rutter said the government has suffered from a lack of direction.

“That vacuum means that the shape of the post-Brexit state is only now beginning to emerge piecemeal through unconnected decisions often forced by external constraints,” the report said.

The study found that in important areas like chemicals, farm payments and digital markets, the UK is moving much more slowly than the EU.

There are still issues such as the status of 2.8 million EU and EEA nationals, the new farm payments scheme, delays to the imposition of full checks by British border authorities and the implementation of new product standard marks.

The report concludes that five years on from former prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to get Brexit done, whoever wins the next general election will still face a lot of unfinished business.

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