Charities’ European Union-funded humanitarian aid programmes will have their funding guaranteed by the UK government in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Department for International Development has announced.
In guidance released by DfID today, the government said it would guarantee funding for EU-financed humanitarian aid programmes after March 2019 if that funding was withdrawn by the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The announcement was made in the light of concerns about clauses inserted by the European Commission into grant agreements with UK charities that say UK charities would be evicted from projects and lose EU funding immediately in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
DfID’s guidance says that this has discouraged some UK organisations from bidding for funding or getting involved in projects, and in some cases EU delegations were encouraging them to step down.
The government said today that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it would therefore commit to funding any programme funded from the EU’s core budget after March 2019 in which a UK organisation "is the lead consortium partner or sole implementer".
This will apply only in a no-deal scenario if EU funding is terminated at the time of Brexit, the guidance says.
The funding will be provided only if the affected organisations provide evidence for the funding they have already received from the EU, and the charities must have undergone DfID due diligence, the guidance says.
The DfID guidance reiterates that UK-based charities and NGOs should be able to bid for funding and participate in and lead EU-funded programmes approved before December 2020.
Further details about the government guarantee will be provided "in the unlikely scenario that it is deemed necessary to do so", according to the guidance.
Claire Godfrey, head of policy and campaigns at the international development network Bond, said: "This commitment provides much-needed reassurance to UK NGOs so they can continue to bid for EU funding without fearing cuts before a programme has ended, the impact of which would have been borne by the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
"Humanitarian aid should never have become a Brexit negotiating tool. Inserting EC disclaimer clauses in NGO contracts unnecessarily discouraged UK NGOs, with sought-after expertise, from applying for funds."