Sector needs clarity on post-Brexit funding

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The Scottish Government has called for answers on a replacement for European structural funding once Britain leaves the EU

5th February 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The Scottish Government has asked for assurances amid concerns over third sector funding after Brexit.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell has written to the UK government calling for clarity over what will be in place to replace the vital funds provided by the European Union (EU).

The letter stresses that as a result of the UK government’s chosen route for exiting the EU, charities will no longer have access to millions of pounds of structural funding.

Campbell has called for third sector fears over the loss of these funds to be addressed. Westminster has proposed the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as replacement for existing EU funding streams, but so far details released on how the fund will operate have been sparse.

She said: “Scotland has benefitted from billions in European Structural Fund money since joining the EU in 1973. These funds have been used to support people getting into work and out of poverty, improving their education and skills, and investing in our infrastructure and communities.

"The UK government has recognised the value of these programmes and committed to replace them, but despite promises to put forward a consultation on the proposed replacement, we are still waiting. I have written to the UK’s minister for communities asking for clarity on this issue.

“We are absolutely clear that we expect the value of the funds to remain at least the same and that we retain the ability to design and operate them in line with the best interests of Scotland.”

The cabinet secretary met Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), to discuss third sector concerns and hear more about the organisation’s proposals for the development of any future programmes.

Fowlie said: "The uncertainty that surrounds Brexit is causing significant concerns for the voluntary sector in Scotland. Funding is just one element of this, but a very important one that the UK government could offer reassurance on right now. We keep hearing there will be successor funding but nothing concrete with seven weeks to go.

“This is unacceptable and places communities at risk of losing vital support. SCVO stands ready to work with UK and Scottish governments to make sure that successor funding arrangements work well. Let’s get on with it now.”