Sector bodies seek government reassurance on EU funding

In a letter to the Treasury, the NCVO, the Charity Finance Group and eight other organisations say they want funding to be continued until 2020

Charity sector bodies, including the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charity Finance Group, have written to the government calling for assurances that European Union funding for charities will be replaced once the UK leaves the EU.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, organised by the NCVO and signed by eight other charity representative bodies, Sir Stuart Etherington, the chief executive of the NCVO, said that charities receiving money from the European Social Fund and Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding stream, needed reassurance that their funding would be continued until 2020.

Earlier this month, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made guarantees about EU funding to thousands of businesses and universities.

Making the announcement, Hammond said the government wanted to provide organisations that received EU funding with "stability and certainty in the period leading up to our departure from the EU".

But the Chancellor’s announcement did not make any specific reference to the charity sector.

The NCVO’s letter says that the Chancellor’s statement "doesn’t solve the problem of what happens after 2020" and does not say what criteria the Treasury will put in place for assessing claims for funding signed after this year’s Autumn Statement.

The letter calls for charities to receive the "same level of assurance" as the other sectors the government has already committed to funding, as well as for further discussions on how services and research financed by the EU will be supported post-Brexit.

Andrew O’Brien, head of policy and engagement at the Charity Finance Group, which signed the letter, said the government’s failure to provide guarantees about the sector’s EU funding was disappointing.

"Charities are critical to the success of a post-Brexit Britain and should be treated on a level playing field," he said.

"What is needed is a comprehensive consultation, including charities, on how services and activities funded by the EU are going to be funded and maintained post-Brexit. This shouldn't be left to the last minute because new funding arrangements will take years to construct. It is important that charities work together to make our voice heard."

The other signatories to the NCVO’s letter were Social Enterprise UK, Voice4Change, the Small Charities Coalition, the community network Locality, the local infrastructure body Navca, the Association of Charitable Foundations and the Institute of Fundraising.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury said the department would respond in due course.

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