With the end of the UK’s ‘transition period’ after Brexit fast approaching, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding our eventual ongoing relationship with the EU.
After what has already been a difficult year for charities, the addition of a no-deal Brexit – or even the prospect of further Brexit uncertainty – could have severe consequences for charities and the voluntary sector as a whole.
To limit the damage, charities are urged to take action now to prepare for significant levels of disruption. Below we have outlined some key areas to focus on:
Although the UK officially ‘left’ the EU on 31 January 2020, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future relationship between the UK and EU. With the transition period due to end on 31 December 2020 there is still a lot to be decided and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit at the end of this year is still very real.
We have summarised some of the main areas for charities to consider during this time of Brexit uncertainty below:
Many charities have concerns about the new immigration system that will come into force on 1 January 2021 – particularly those working in the health and social care sector.
The new rules also affect the charity workforce, of which 6.5% is made up of non-UK nationals, with 3.8% coming from EU member states.
No Brexit scenario should affect the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, so it is important for EU citizens to apply for ‘settled status’ in the UK – which grants them the same rights as they enjoyed before the referendum.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose major economic challenges, a no-deal Brexit could put charities into an even more concerning situation. Voluntary organisations must do everything they can to remain financially robust in order to cope with the rising needs of beneficiaries and continue to offer support in their communities.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we could see a decline in the pound, rising prices and supply chain disruption – all of which could have a direct and indirect effect on charities and the work they do.
Leaving the EU means leaving all of its institutions and funding streams – which is estimated to be worth at least £258m each year to UK charities.
The government has committed to underwrite the cost of all EU-funded projects from the 2014-20 cycle, and will continue to approve European Social Fund projects.
However, the loss of EU funding is still expected to have significant ramifications for charities as many public services may cease to exist – increasing the burden on charities to expand their services just as vital funding sources diminish.
As things stand there is no guarantee that membership to the European Voluntary Service will still be open to British organisations in the event of a no-deal Brexit, with particular fears around specific programmes such as the Erasmus+ scheme.
EU citizens wanting to volunteer in the UK will be required to apply for Tier 5 (charity) visas via a registered volunteering provider.
About BHIB Charities Insurance
BHIB Charities Insurance specialise in providing tailored cover for community groups, clubs, societies, voluntary organisations and hobby or special interest groups. We offer more than just insurance and we are passionate about supporting local communities.
Any views or opinions expressed above are for guidance only and are expressed in generic terms. They are not intended as a substitute for readers taking appropriate professional advice relevant to individual circumstances. We would always encourage readers to seek professional advice.