Acevo chief Asheem Singh urges summit with Brexit camp

The interim chief executive wants assurances that the EU money lost to the sector would be replaced after the UK leaves the European Union

Asheem Singh
Asheem Singh

The chief executives body Acevo has reiterated its call for a summit with the most prominent advocates of the pro-Brexit campaign after the UK voted yesterday to leave the European Union.

Asheem Singh, interim chief executive of Acevo, has also written to David Cameron, the outgoing Prime Minister, calling for a commission to be set up, driven by charity and social enterprise leaders, that would seek to understand the potential impact of this decision on the most vulnerable in society and provide appropriate policy responses.

Singh wrote earlier this month to pro-Brexit Conservatives Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith calling for an "immediate emergency summit" between the leave campaign and Acevo’s members.

The meeting would be an opportunity to discuss potential changes to regulations affecting areas such as child welfare, environmental protection and employees’ rights as a result of a vote to leave, he said.

Singh received no reply to his letter, which also sought assurances that the Brexiteers would guarantee they would replace the loss to the UK economy of £200m a year in grants and contracts from Europe. But in a statement issued at 5am this morning, he said he intended to contact leave campaigners who had pledged to arrange replacement funding for certain sectors.

A spokesman for Acevo referred to comments made by the prominent leave campaigner and employment minister Priti Patel last week on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that "there would be more than enough money" in the case of the UK leaving the EU to ensure that those who now got funding from Europe – including universities, scientists, farmers and regional funds – would continue to get money and would be supported by the UK government.

Acevo will also seek to discuss what planning needs to take place to maintain the level of funding the sector previously received from the £11bn European and Social Investment Fund, 20 per cent of which was earmarked for projects to promote social inclusion. 

Singh said it was critical for the sector and those who will be the driving force behind Brexit to come together to ensure a fair outcome from the coming changes.

"Without urgent reform, Brexit will prefigure concrete cuts to community funding," he said. "It is time for immediate talks between third sector leaders and the government to ensure this shortfall does not result in immediate and real harm, and to create a road map to reform of social protection legislation.

"We are ready to work with the government and make this new dispensation work – but time is of the essence."

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