The EU referendum was one of the most remarkable events in the politics of the UK for generations: it lead to the resignation of a sitting Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition facing a vote of no confidence, and an inevitable redefining of the relationship between the UK and the European Union. There is no doubt that the response and lack of cohesion to Brexit by politicians across all parties figured highly in Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call the June 2017 General Election.
As we awoke on the morning of 24th June 2016 there was a strange atmosphere: a mix of disbelief, incredulity and uncertainty. Whether you voted for or against leaving the European Union, the question on everyone’s lips was “what next?” But the wheels of power grind slowly and the vote on 23rd June 2016 was just the beginning of the very beginning. It wasn’t until 29th March 2017 that Article 50 was triggered, but did this mean we were on the starting block and ready to go? No, a further turn in the road came when the country was asked to go to the polls in a General Election on 8th June 2017. So we wait, because only after this will the negotiations that shape the future start. In the coming months and possibly years, charities must play their part and ensure their voices and the voices of their beneficiaries are prominent.
To start this debate we wanted, through this research, to capture the potential effects of Brexit for charities and how they will fit into and, more importantly, influence a post-Brexit world. Whilst some charities will not be affected at all, others will face greater challenges and so we chose to focus the research on the key areas of policy, funding, workforce and collaboration.
We are a democratic nation and there is little doubt that the referendum was a remarkable exercise in direct democracy, a defining moment in the political, economic and social configuration of the UK. In order to best support our beneficiaries we must stay informed and speak out in the months and years ahead.