Aid companies based in the UK that work on supporting democracy, human rights, migration, and food security around the world could be set to miss out on as much as £140 million of funding after Brexit, if no deal is agreed by October.
NGOs and other development companies have been warned that EU funding could be blocked if the UK is unable to reach an agreement with the bloc.
And the clock is ticking.
It has now emerged that the European commission has put together a series of documents, making it clear to UK businesses and charities what risks they face, depending on the Brexit outcome.
The Guardian obtained a leaked EU document, drafted on Dec.20, which showed that those UK-based charities and organisations applying for EU funding will be receiving a legal disclaimer this month.
And, without a Brexit deal by October, it will warn that those which have won contracts, grants, or prizes “will cease to receive funding,” reported the Guardian.
Those already contracted to carry out EU work won’t have their contracts terminated, according to reports, although “modifications” may need to be made.
It could have a significant impact on the UK’s development sector, which is currently the second largest recipient of EU funding — with most of the money in 2016 going to support democracy, human rights, migration, and food security.
Between 2012 and 2016, the EU gave an average of around £266 million each year in fresh commitments to the UK development sector — amounting to about £1.06 billion in total.
In 2016 alone, contracts and grants worth £315.4 million were awarded to UK organisations.
Research by Bond, the UK network of NGOs, reported that small and medium-sized organisations reliant on EU contracts would likely be the worst affected. But, it added, larger UK-based international NGOs would also be hard hit.
Traditional UK recipients of the funding — from the EU’s 1 billion euro European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) budget — include Oxfam, International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, and Save the Children.
“Depending on possible Brexit scenarios, UK [civil society organisations] are likely to face an annual funding shortfall, which could be as high as the full amount they’re currently receiving,” according to Bond’s analysis.
Bond also reported that many organisations are “actively considering, and others have already set out to, establish offices in other European countries, with Ireland as a favourite.”
The UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019, but a deal must be agreed by October for there to be time for it to be ratified by the European parliament and the House of Commons.
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