NCVO urges charities to step up planning for “severe consequences” of a no-deal Brexit

The NCVO has urged charities to step up their preparations for the threat of a no deal Brexit and the “significant levels of disruption” it could cause.

The warning has come as “the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is greater than ever”, following the stalling of EU and British government talks over a deal. In addition, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated that the UK will walk away from negotiations if no deal is struck by mid October.

The heighted possibility of a no deal Brexit also comes as the charity sector looks to tackle major income losses, through the cancellation of face-to-face fundraising events and the closure of charity shops during lockdown.

NCVO senior external relations officer Ben Westerman said: “NCVO has been clear for some time: a no-deal outcome could cause serious harm to communities across the UK. If this was true before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it is even more so now.

“After an unprecedented year, which has already caused significant damage to charities and to the communities with which we work and the charities and volunteers that support them, the addition of a no-deal Brexit could have severe consequences.”

He added: “Charities must act now to ensure that we are as prepared as possible for significant levels of disruption. With the effects of the coronavirus pandemic already posing significant challenges to our sector, it is vital that we are prepared for change so that we can play our part in the national recovery effort in the months and years ahead.”

Key issues the charity sector faces are rising demand for their support through worsening public health and economic conditions under a no-Brexit deal, including rising prices, a decline in the value of the pound and supply chain disruption.

At the same time, Westerman warns, “public services may cease to exist in many areas, leaving the onus on charities to expand their work just as their funding diminishes”.

Also, “funding remains the most unclear of all areas related to Brexit”.

“Leaving the EU will mean leaving all of its institutions and funding streams, currently estimated to be at least £258m per year for charities,” he added.”

The NCVO is urging charities to look at guidance it produced in January on what a no-deal Brexit may mean for charities.

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