Third sector needs to speak with one voice on Brexit

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John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, wants the sector to pull together

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29th August 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

With Brexit negotiations between the UK Government and Europe leaders now underway, Scotland’s charities and voluntary organisations face the daunting task of ensuring Brexit has the least negative impact possible on Scotland’s communities.

Our sector has expressed grave concerns about the outcome of the decision to leave the European Union, taken in June last year, and has highlighted misgivings about the potential loss of EU funding (£800m between 2014-20), human rights protections, environmental standards, immigration policy and maintaining links with sister organisations across the continent.

Focusing on these pervasive matters, SCVO has published a series of discussion papers which are open to comment and suggestions from organisations across the voluntary sector. Using this input, Scotland’s third sector will be able to adopt positions on key elements relating to the ongoing debate.

There is no doubt that Brexit is set to have a huge impact on the charity sector and the work we do. We know that many charities rely on EU funding to provide services, whilst others who champion equality and diversity are concerned that the rights of the individuals they assist could be undermined as we disengage from EU human rights frameworks.

With the UK Government and European Commission both releasing a series of papers of their own, we think it important for those negotiating teams and the general public to understand how Brexit will impact on the voluntary sector that so many people in Scotland support and rely on.

If we are to have a hope of influencing these big decisions, we need the sector to pull together and speak with one voice. With a series of clear asks and set positions, we can all make every effort to ensure the best possible outcomes from what looks likely to be an incredibly turbulent period.

Over the last year, SCVO has been working closely with charities, the Scottish Government, the UK Government and European institutions to map out the key challenges – and potential opportunities – of Brexit. In a bid to leave no stone unturned, we are now looking for the views of the wider sector on the issues of greatest importance to you.

If your organisation would like contribute to this work, you can do so by visiting our wiki page, or by getting in touch with us directly at craig.wilso[email protected] or on 0131 474 8031.

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