Charities think Brexit will have negative impact, says CAF report

The majority of charity leaders are pessimistic about Brexit and many are already seeing an impact on their organisations

Almost two-thirds of charity leaders think Brexit will have a negative impact on their organisations, according to research published today.

Of the 452 third sector leaders surveyed for the Charity Landscapes report, published today by the Charities Aid Foundation, 63 per cent said Brexit would have a negative impact.

Two per cent said it would have a positive impact, 21 per cent said it would make no difference and 14 per cent said they did not know.

"Most charities are pessimistic about the overall economy and are worried about what Brexit will mean: partly in terms of the impact on their own organisations, but even more so in terms of the impact on the people and communities they work with," says the report. 

Twenty-three per cent of charity leaders said Brexit had already had an impact on their charity, either negative or positive.

Of those, 33 per cent reported issues with staff, such as shortages or difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees, and 19 per cent reported the ending of EU funding or projects.

The survey was conducted in November, before Prime Minister Theresa May's deal to leave the European Union was rejected by MPs for the first time.

Charity leaders who are customers of CAF Bank or members of Acevo, Acosvo and CO3, which all represent civil society leaders, completed an online questionnaire.

The report, for which voluntary sector leaders are quizzed on the political and social landscape in which they operate, has been published every two years since 2015. It was previously called Social Landscape.

The latest edition reveals that 83 per cent of charities saw increased demand for their services over the past 12 months and 92 per cent ofelt they would be expected to fill gaps in the provision of public services.

Fifty-nine per cent said they believed that over the next five years governments would view charities as a nuisance for criticising their policies.

"Most believe that over the next five years, government will value charities primarily in terms of service delivery and not see their campaigning and advocacy in a positive light," the report says.

Fifty-nine per cent said the sector had been badly affected by recent negative media stories.

Just 35 per cent said they believed charities were good at demonstrating their impact to the public.

Susan Pinkney, head of research at the Charities Aid Foundation, said in a statement that charity leaders were "fearful of the impact that Brexit will have, for example on staff retention and the ongoing funding that allows them to provide services for those who need them".

But she said there were reasons to be optimistic: "Eighty-seven per cent of charity leaders are investing in technological innovation in order to meet the evolving needs of their beneficiaries, reflecting a strong desire to plan ahead for the future."

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