Brexit leaving civil servants at ‘breaking point’

Rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety among civil servants has risen drastically in the past year to the highest level for decades.

Amid warnings that Whitehall will reach ‘breaking point’, official data indicates that the proportion of civil servants who say they are experiencing stress has increased by 45 per cnet, with increasing workloads, looming deadlines, departures of senior staff and the pressures around delivering Brexit all blamed for the rise.

Approximately 3,230 cases of stress, depression and anxiety per 100,000 workers were recorded by the Health and Safety Executive for the sector and related jobs, the highest rate of any sector in the UK and around 77 per cent higher than the all-industry average.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs recently made counsellors available for its staff, but the figures tend to suggest that the sheer workload that the civil service has been subjected to under Brexit is taking its toll.

Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, said: “No other industry has experienced anything like this annual jump, and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that it is because of the sheer level of pressure being heaped on civil servants as a result of Brexit.

“No government in peace time has ever been as reliant on its civil service, keeping the country running and preparing for Brexit, while parliament remains effectively deadlocked. Pay is still lagging behind the private sector, departmental cuts continue to bite, and senior politicians never seem to miss an opportunity to attack civil servants – it’s no wonder they are feeling the strain. The government urgently needs to address this problem or it will soon discover that even our fantastic civil service has a breaking point.”