Brexit – Charity leaders call for immediate sector summit
The charity leaders’ network ACEVO is seeking an urgent summit with leading Brexiteers to establish how they propose to make good the loss of European funding to the sector. The summit would also discuss key matters of regulation such as child welfare, environmental protection and employees’ rights.
ACEVO Chief Executive Asheem Singh recently wrote to leading Vote Leave exponents Michael Gove and Iain Duncan-Smith.
In his letter he sought assurances that any successful Brexit campaign would make good the loss of the £200 million a year which the Charity Finance Group estimated to be the UK’s annual income from grants and contracts from Europe.
Singh additionally sought an assurance that Brexiteers would hold an emergency sector summit should the vote be to leave. He wrote: “….the pragmatic reality is that under the current dispensation communities will suffer through the loss of European Social Funding and the curtailing of international regulatory protections”.
Neither Duncan-Smith nor Gove replied but these concerns have become substantive and urgent now that the outcome of the referendum has been decided. ACEVO will be contacting those Brexiteers who, in advance of the vote, pledged some replacement funding to some sectors.
ACEVO will also seek to discuss what preliminary planning needs to take place to ensure the benefit that the sector previously received from the £11 billion European and Social Investment Fund:
Asheem Singh said: “The British people have spoken and it is now mission critical that we come together to ensure a fair outcome for all. Without urgent reform, Brexit will prefigure concrete cuts to community funding. It is time for immediate talks between third sector leaders and the Government to ensure this shortfall does not result in immediate and real harm, and to create a roadmap to reform of social protection legislation. We are ready to work with the Government and make this new dispensation work – but time is of the essence.“
1 The Charity Finance Group estimated that the direct loss of EU grants and contracts would be around £200m a year – £500 million by 2020. This represented value gained by just 249 organisations in 2014.
2 In addition to this direct funding, leaving the European Union will also result in the loss of the European Social and Investment Fund. This is worth in the region of £11 billion, with 20% being specifically earmarked for projects assisting social inclusion.
 Charity Finance Group (2016) Potential Impact of Brexit on UK Charities Available at: http://www.cfg.org.uk/resources/Publications/~/media/Files/Resources/Briefings/EU_brief.pdf