Macc has joined forces with over 85 organisations in expressing our grave concerns about the impacts a no-deal Brexit will have on civil society. Together with organisations from across the devolved nations, as well as a breadth of English regions, we have called on the Prime Minister to urgently engage with our concerns about leaving the EU without a deal on the 31st October. Signatories of the letter have serious concerns about how a no-deal Brexit will be a direct threat to the peace process in Northern Ireland, regression of rights and standards, the uncertainty of the future, and a lack of adequate engagement and support from the Government.
Dear Prime Minister,
As civil society organisations working with citizens and communities across the UK, we are writing to express our grave concerns about the risk of leaving the EU without an agreement as the 31st October is rapidly approaching.
A growing body of evidence shows that a no-deal Brexit would be detrimental to civil society and the communities that we work with. The uncertainty, the predicted economic shock, the prospect of legal uncertainty as well as the regression in rights and standards present a profound risk to the values civil society stands for.
Leaving the EU without a deal will see a return to a ‘hard’ border on the island of Ireland. This will have significant detrimental effects on trade, the economy, and on the ability of citizens to move easily between the two jurisdictions for work, study and family reasons.
A no-deal Brexit will be a direct threat to the peace process and the safeguards in the Good Friday Agreement. This would be at odds with the UK Government's stated commitment to guarantee these vital protections.
Business, civil society and communities across the UK are not ready for a no-deal exit.
There is not enough time to replace EU agencies that monitor and ensure compliance with the law, potentially resulting in food standards, environmental and animal welfare regulations not being sufficiently enforced.
Legislation to accommodate a no-deal scenario will be rushed through Parliament with little to no scrutiny from MPs and civil society. Neither is there enough time to put in place the necessary common frameworks to guarantee that devolution is respected.
Civil society faces the same Brexit related impacts and uncertainties as business, and yet we have not had adequate support, resources and engagement from the government. We urge you to better engage with civil society, including across the devolved nations, throughout the next stages of the Brexit process.
Leaving the EU without an agreement will have drastic and wide-ranging implications for citizens and communities, who deserve to be heard.
Mike Wild, Chief Executive, Macc
Lucy Danger, Chief Executive, EMERGE 3Rs & EMERGE Recycling
Kush Chottera, Director of Europia, Europia
Edward Connole, Director, ALL ARTS & MEDIA
Alison Page, Chief Executive, Salford CVS
Darren John Knight, Chief Executive, Bolton Community and Voluntary Services (CVS)
Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive, Unlimited Potential
Carol Botten, CEO, Voluntary Organisations' Network North East
Brian Carr, Chief Executive, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council
Ruth Marks, Chief Executive, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive, NICVA (Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action)
Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO
Sara McCracken, Chief Executive, Angel Eyes NI
Martin Cavalot, Chair, Arts Connection - Cyswllt Celf
Dr Sam Smith, CEO, C-Change Scotland
Sarah Jones, Head of Policy and Campaigning, Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales
Ruth Harding, Clerk, Cardiff Local Quaker Meeting
Sheila Hendrickson-Brown, CEO, Cardiff Third Sector Council
Dr Anthony Soares, Acting Director, Centre for Cross Border Studies
Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director, CHEM Trust
Jackie Brock, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland
Catriona Williams OBE, Chief Executive, Children in Wales
Paddy Kelly, Director, Children's Law Centre
Karla Hill, Global Programmes Counsel, ClientEarth
Jane O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer, Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs
Brian Gormally, Director, Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)
Dr David Holloway, Director, Community Dialogue
Bijon SINHA, Administrator, Compton’s Yard Charitable Trust
Janis McDonald, Chief Officer, deafscotland
Kevin Doherty, Chief Executive Officer, Disability Action
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive, Disability Wales
Ele Hicks, Policy Manager, Diverse CymruEmma Ritch, Executive Director, Engender
Ali Harris, Chief Executive, Equally Ours
Elizabeth Maria Kardynal, Founder & Director, European's Welfare Association CIC (EWA CIC)
Ms Shahida Siddique, Chief Executive Officer, Faithstar LLP
Susan Fleming, Administrator, Focus: The Identity Trust
Rene Meijer, Chief Executive Officer, Food Works
Craig Bennett, CEO, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
Kevin Hanratty, Director, Human Rights Consortium
Mhairi Snowden, Coordinator, Human Rights Consortium Scotland
Dr Sally Witcher, Chief Executive, Inclusion Scotland
Michal Chantowski, Development and Services Manager, International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS)
John Harris, Chair, International Group of the Church in Wales
Jen Ang, Director, JustRight Scotland
Professor Nicole Busby, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Strathclyde
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive, LocalityCatrin Devonald, Prif Swyddog / Chief Executive, Menter Iaith Casnewydd
Fizza Qureshi, Co-CEO, Migrants' Rights Network
Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies, Prif Weithredwr/Chief Executive, Mudiad Meithrin
Gaynor Richards MBE BA(Hons), Dip H&SW, Msc, LLD (hon), Director, Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Service
Chris Quinn, Director, Northern Ireland Youth Forum
Professor Robert Moore, North Wales Regional Equality Network
Zamzam Ibrahim, President, NUS UK
Robert Murtagh, NUS-USI President, NUS-USI (N. Ireland Student Movement)
Anne Bonner, Chief Executive, Riverside Community Health Project
Charles Dundas, Chair, Scottish Environment LINK
Shaben Begum, Director, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Gary Christie, Head of Policy, Scottish Refugee Council
Kim Dams, Director, Scottish Rural Action
Ann Shrosbree, Director, Small World Theatre
Judi Rhys, Chief Executive, Tenovus Cancer Care
Jackie Murphy, CEO, TGP Cymru
Dr Cath Larkins, Director, The Centre for Children and Young People's Participation - University of Central Lancashire
Janie Oliver, Executive Director, The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary, The Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Kenneth R. Curran Snr, Chair, The Manor Assembly
Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance
Colin Tudge, Trustee, The Real Farming Trust
Siôn Edwards, Communications Manager, The Venture I.C.C
Peter Hussey, Clerk, the Wales Focus Group of Meeting of Friends in Wales, (Society of Friends (Quakers)
Lindsay Cordery-Bruce, CEO, The Wallich Wiard Sterk, Advocate - Wales / Cymru, the3million
Laura Bannister, Senior Adviser: EU-UK Trade, Trade Justice Movement
Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary, Union of Welsh Independents
Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON
Alexandra Runswick, Director, Unlock Democracy
Steve Nash, Chairperson and Coordinator, Voluntary Sector Advisory Group (VOLSAG)
Revd Dr Noel Davies / Parch. Ddr Noel Davies, Chair / Cadeirydd, Wales & Europe Working Party of Cytûn (Churches together in Wales) / Gweithgor Cymru ac Ewrop Cytûn (Eglwysi ynghyd yng Nghymru)
Susie Ventris-Field, Chief Executive, Welsh Centre for International Affairs
Russel Hobson, Director of Policy and Land Use, Butterfly Conservation
Maria Constanza Mesa, Operational Director / Cyfarwyddwr Gweithredol, Women Connect First / Menywod Gysylltu’n Gyntaf
Sarah Powell, Chair, Women's Equality Network
John Tizard, Strategic Advisor
Caroline Willcocks, Manager of WHISC, Women's Health Information and Support Centre (WHISC)
Anne McVicker, Director, Women's Resource & Development Agency
Tim Frew, Chief Executive, YouthLink Scotland
Rt Hon Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales
The letter has been facilitated by the Brexit Civil Society Alliance, a UK wide alliance of charities, voluntary and campaigning organisations, with support from its sister Brexit Civil Society Projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Alliance does not take a position on what direction Brexit should take but seeks to raise concerns on behalf of its members and work to ensure that the Brexit process delivers on our three principles: open and accountable lawmaking; a high standards UK; and no governance gap after Brexit.
Mike Wild, Chief Executive at Macc said
“The challenge for us is that everything we are hearing is that in the short to medium term there will be an economic hit from Brexit, in whatever form it takes. Even those businesses with greater resources have struggled to prepare for Brexit due to lack of clarity.
Civil society organisations are not concerned only with preparing for the impact on current operations but also thinking about what we might need to do if there are negative consequences - as many predict. For communities where the last recession has still never really ended, we are concerned that those who are already struggling will face additional hardship. Charities are already working harder than ever to fill in the gaps from reduced public services over the last decade. If there is further pressure on them, some will simply not be able to cope with demand.
In the media battles on both sides of the argument, it is hard to tell what is true and what is exaggeration - and the conversation is now so politicised that even raising questions is to wade into a toxic debate. We need frank, practical engagement as a matter of urgency.”