What charities should be thinking about in the event of a No-Deal Brexit

With Britain’s exit from the European Union just over the horizon and with uncertainty surrounding the Government’s Brexit deal, it can be hard to plan for the future. Our Director of Policy, Communications and Research Duncan Shrubsole looks at what charities need to think about should the threat of a no-deal Brexit become a reality

Like anyone else in the country, Brexit may be frustrating, inspiring or just bewildering you.

With no clear political way forward in sight, it is increasingly important for charities to think through what the potential implications might be for yourselves, particularly if in less than six weeks we leave the European Union with No-Deal.

The Government has published a series of notices on the potential impacts on their special Brexit website. This covers everything from changes to standards and regulations and what to do if you import or export goods or services from abroad.

As a small charity we would encourage you to think about two issues in particular:

  1. Supporting EU nationals living in the UK – whether your own staff or clients you support, EU citizens will need to apply through the Settled Status Scheme website.The scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019, with a deadline for applying by 30 June 2021 if we leave with the Prime Minister’s current proposed deal. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020.
  2. Food – given the extent to which the UK consumes food from the EU, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, it is highly likely that there may be disruptions to the availability of some food in the event of a No-Deal Brexit and an increase in food prices more broadly. This could have an impact on your beneficiaries, particularly those already struggling to make ends meet, but it could also have an impact on yourselves as charities if your service involves providing food, particularly as more people might be seeking your help. We would, therefore, encourage you to be thinking about what food items you might be able to store now in preparation. If you rely on food being donated from individuals, supermarkets or elsewhere we would encourage you to be talking to those partners now, understanding how they might respond to any shortages or disruption and where possible considering alternative sources of food.

As a funder we’ve supported the Brexit Civil Society Alliance on their work to bring together voices from a wide range of charities to build their capacity to understand and engage in the Brexit process as well as providing some funding to Wales Council for Volutnary Action (WCVA) to capture the particular perspectives of charities in Wales. The Foundation have also been part of a group led by NCVO and the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)seeking to make and shape the case for the new Shared Prosperity Fund to replace EU funding we’ll lose.

With just weeks to go, the Brexit deal we are likely to get remains unclear. It’s important to be prepared, as small charities like you will play vital roles on the front line when Brexit arrives.

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