The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has issued an open letter to all UK Parliament party leaders demanding action to stop a no-deal exit from the European Union.

The letter – sent on 19 August 2019 – highlights the hugely negative impact no-deal Brexit could have on the voluntary sector in Scotland, stating that it could “wreck communities, lives and organisations that so many people rely upon.”

The letter comes at a time where the increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit ups the ante for the voluntary sector and – using analysis from the government itself – it is clear that increased demand for assistance, coupled with a loss of funding and staff will undoubtedly see charities collapse and leave a vacuum of support that cannot be filled.

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, emphasises in the letter how crucial the work of the voluntary sector in Scotland is to communities and individuals, stating that “a no-deal Brexit would make it impossible to maintain the current levels and standards of support.”

There are over 40,000 voluntary sector organisations in Scotland, with just under half categorised as registered charities. The sector employs over 100,000 people, making it one of the country’s biggest employers. Each year around 1.4million volunteers donate their time to help these organisations to support communities and people in need.

The full text of the letter is detailed below:

19 August 2019

Open letter to UK Parliament party leaders:

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) calls on UK Parliament party leaders to stop a no-deal Brexit

Since the referendum result in June 2016, charity and voluntary organisations have been holding their breath.

All evidence shows that the sector was opposed to Brexit; but organisations were hopeful that issues they had raised would be handled in a serious and responsible way. Sadly, the opposite has been the case. 

Having tried to communicate with government on everything from human rights, environmental impact, immigration, free movement and workforce, to medicines, loss of funding and maintaining links with sister organisations, we have merely been invited to a series of unhelpful and uninformative meetings. This situation is no longer tolerable.

The increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit ups the ante for our sector and – using analysis from the government itself – it is clear a perfect storm is brewing for voluntary organisations and the people they work with. Increased demand for assistance, coupled with a loss of funding, staff and volunteers will undoubtedly see charities collapse and leave a vacuum of support that cannot be filled.

That this reckless act is set to take place without proper consultation and deliberation is all the worse. It should not be the case that no-deal is reached by default – even if that means asking citizens, once again, if this is what they truly want. 

The voluntary sector comprises a huge part of our society and operates under the most challenging situations and tightest budgetary constraint. Yet, our work is crucial to communities and individuals. A no-deal Brexit would make it impossible to maintain the current levels and standards of support. We simply cannot let this happen.

For too long, the voice of the charity and voluntary sector has been drowned out. It is time to end the calamitous drive towards a no-deal Brexit, which will wreck communities, lives and organisations that so many people rely upon. As leaders of the UK parliament, you must stop the UK exiting the European Union without a deal.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Fowlie

Chief Executive

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Sent to:

Boris Johnson Conservative Party

Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party

Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Jo Swinson Liberal Democrats

Arlene Foster Democratic Unionist Party

Adam Price Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales

Jonathan Bartley & Siân Berry Green Party of England and Wales

Anna Soubry Change UK