No-deal Brexit is high-risk strategy for the sector, CFG warns

A report from the Charity Finance Group says that, as things are, 'Brexit will be bad for charities and bad for their beneficiaries'

A no-deal Brexit poses an "unacceptable risk" to the voluntary sector and its beneficiaries, the Charity Finance Group has warned.

A report from the umbrella body, published yesterday, says that as things currently stand "Brexit will be bad for charities and bad for their beneficiaries".

It says there is a high risk that the government will not use Brexit to support the work of the charity sector, and it warns that charities could be left with "all of the costs of Brexit and with none of the opportunities that could be created".

The report sets out a six-point plan it says will create a better outcome for the voluntary sector.

The points include ensuring that the Brexit deal gives the UK complete freedom to change VAT rules, including more flexibility in the immigration system so that charities can continue to hire the workers they need, and increased scope in public procurement to award grants and contracts based on social, economic and environmental value rather than on cost alone.

The CFG sparked debate last year when it published a report that said a "clean Brexit" without membership of the single market "would have the most potential for allowing the UK charity sector to thrive".

It argued that remaining in the single market after Brexit could leave the voluntary sector with the "worst of both worlds", such as EU-compliant tax, state-aid and procurement policy without the ability to change regulations.

The CFG’s latest report says the umbrella body has no position on the merits or otherwise of Brexit, but it believes it should highlight both the opportunities for the sector and the areas where the government would be exposing it to potential harm.

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the CFG, called on the government to take action to avoid Brexit becoming a disaster for charities.

"Based on what we know so far, there is a very high risk that charities are going to be saddled with all the costs of Brexit and none of the potential benefits," she said.

"There is a huge risk that, instead of healing the divisions in society for those who feel left behind, the public’s fears will be proved right – that Brexit is about business and the wealthy and not about ordinary people and the disadvantaged.

"With a no-deal scenario looking increasingly likely, we’re deeply concerned that charities and their beneficiaries won’t benefit in any way from Brexit," she said.

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