Brexit expert tells charities to get more involved in debate

Web eu flag at lgbt rights protest

It is imperative the sector explores what the impact will be says Professor Alan Miller, former chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission

Paul Cardwell's photo

13th February 2017 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

Charities need to speak up and become more involved in the Brexit debate, an expert has warned.

Professor Alan Miller, former chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, now a member of the first minister’s standing council on Europe, said Brexit poses an unprecedented risk to human rights which we have come to take for granted. 

Miller, who stepped down as chair of the commission last year, said it is in the sector’s own interest to get more involved as well as in the interest of the people they represent.

Speaking in an interview with Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) policy officer Craig Wilson, Miller insisted the sector has a unique role in the Brexit process as it has access to the communities that are the most vulnerable, disempowered and likely to suffer the most consequences.

Professor Alan Miller

Professor Alan Miller

“It’s certainly time to stand up and I would hope that the third sector does become involved,” he said.

“Evidence from around the world shows that the less equal a society it is, the less happy it is. That’s why all of this really matters and I strongly encourage third sector organisations to find out how this will impact them."

Miller says there are a number of human rights and financial points to consider.

He said: “One is that there is a real risk of regression as powers are brought back from the EU to Westminster and then not devolved to Scotland.

“Secondly, the UK will become freer to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and the protections we have from the European Court of Human Rights.

“But the impact on the economy is linked to human rights as well.

“There will be an impact on the funding and the allocation of resources to the third sector and those that they serve – in terms of social security, wages, housing, health and education.

“It really is so imperative that all of us – including the third sector – explore what the impact will be."

He called on the sector to explore "the options we can take to avoid regression, not be left behind and continue to take a lead in shaping the kind of country we want to be and the values we want to underpin that.”

To listen to the full interview click on the video below.

15th February 2017 by Rose Burn

There is no evidence that powers returned from Brussels to Westminster will not be passed onto devolved administrations or local government. Fishery and agricultural policy are two prime examples. Charities should certainly be involved in pressing governments for extra funds. The UK currently gives about £10bn a year to Brussels so after leaving the EU then these funds will be available to support eg R&D, university research, and yes charity funding.