Any overseas aid charity that does not have an entity in the European Union outside the UK should set one up to secure future funding, a charity lawyer has recommended.
During a National Council for Voluntary Organisations online discussion on the potential impact on the sector of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Philip Kirkpatrick, joint head of charity at the law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite, advised overseas aid charities to maintain an EU presence to retain funding.
He said that if an overseas aid agency did not have an entity in the EU outside the UK, "I would be setting one up now to apply for funds to ensure you can still support your beneficiaries in the developing world with that money".
The EU provides more than £200m a year to the UK charity sector. During the NCVO event there were numerous questions about the financial implications of Brexit.
Elizabeth Chamberlain, policy manager at the NCVO, who also spoke during the Brexit event, said existing funding commitments would continue until the exit from the EU was completed, a process that is expected to take more than two years.
But she warned that there would probably be an immediate suspension of new funding commitments from the EU for UK charities.
Kirkpatrick said that charities should still apply for EU funding, but "there’s a real risk we won’t be regarded as being very high on the list for getting it". He also warned that any policies that "could be seen as a burden on businesses could be under threat".
Chris Walker, political analyst at the NCVO, and Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at the NCVO, also appeared during the event.