BREXIT has resulted in a “significant” change in the shape of the British state, with civil service numbers growing by around 100,000 since the vote to leave the EU, a new report has found.

In Scotland alone, the civil service has grown by two-thirds since 2016 - adding another 10,500 full-time officials, the analysis says.

However, the report Brexit And The State 2024, published by UK In A Changing Europe, said this increase has mainly been around further devolution such as new powers on social security and tax resulting from the Scotland Act 2016.

But it warns that Brexit has placed new demands on the devolved governments, who have more administration and need to devise and deliver more policy from scratch – with a lack of capacity at times making this “challenging”.

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Despite the election slogan of Boris Johnson to “Get Brexit Done”, it says the next UK Government after the General Election will find there is still a lot of “unfinished business”.

The report also highlights the tensions caused by the post-Brexit UK Internal Market Act (UKIMA), which it says “continues to divide opinion and cause difficulties for UK intergovernmental relations”.

“The Scottish Government continues to be vocal in its opposition,” it said.

“The Welsh Government launched an early judicial review of the UKIMA (which the Court of Appeal dismissed as premature at the time). It has since taken a more nuanced position, suggesting there has not yet been enough time to assess the impact of the UKIMA on devolved policymaking.

“All governments are now having to consider whether policies are likely to run into market access problems.

The National:

“But close working on potential alignment and to coordinate timing – as for example, appears to be happening on a potential disposable vapes ban – could avoid policies being undermined by the market accessible principles.”

The report concludes that with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister, the UK has started to rebuild relationships with the EU that were “badly damaged” by the Brexit negotiations – and that even more damage was caused by the behaviour of Johnson and Brexit negotiator David Frost when they sought to renege on agreements already reached.

But it says the trade and co-operation agreement reached with the EU is only just beginning and it has yet to be seen what scope there is to “deepen” co-operation.

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“Even when relations were at their worst, the UK and the EU managed to work together to support Ukraine,” the analysis said.

“More widely, as a global actor, the UK needs to select issues where it can make a difference. It hosted the COP in 2021 relatively successfully and managed to deliver more than was expected at its recent AI summit.

“But on major global issues – from AI, to trade tariffs, to the net zero transition – the UK’s influence appears diminished from outside the EU.”

The report added: “It may take longer to repair internal relations damaged through Brexit. Intergovernmental relations soured badly with the imposition of the Internal Market Act.

"Even with government restored in Northern Ireland, the UK Government will have to devote time and attention to ensuring the new arrangements work.

“Whoever is in government after the next general election will find that, five years on from Boris Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done’ election, there is still a lot of unfinished business.”