80 civil society groups join forces to protect third sector interests as the UK moves closer to Brexit



For extended comment or for more information about the alliance, please contact Jane Thomas at jane.thomas@unlockdemocracy.org.uk

The Brexit Civil Society Alliance, formed of over 80 organisations from across the UK, joined forces to protect the interest of charities, advocacy groups, and voluntary organisations across the UK [1].

The Brexit Civil Society Alliance, previously the Repeal Bill Alliance, has spent the last 15 months working collectively to improve the EU Withdrawal Act, the Government’s landmark Brexit legislation.Since the Act past, the Alliance, which is funded by a consortium of grant-making trusts and foundations, has turned its attention to the rest of the Brexit process.

Concerns remain about the potential weakening of equality laws, workers’ rights and environmental standards. This is particularly in light of ministers being  granted sweeping delegated legislation and Henry VIII powers in almost every Brexit bill that has been introduced to Parliament [2]. These powers are vaguely defined and received little to none scrutiny from parliamentarians, creating a risk of ministers making policy changes behind closed doors.

The Alliance also warns of the huge uncertainty with the potential loss of EU funding. EU Structural Funds have provided a lifeline to people and communities experiencing disadvantage, discrimination and abuse, and provided security for the voluntary and community organisations that support them [3]. Although the Government has promised [4] to replace this funding with a ‘UK Shared Prosperity Fund’ there is currently very little detail about how this would look like in practice.

Jane Thomas, a spokesperson for the Alliance, said:

“While attention has been paid to the future of business with Brexit, often the human impact and stories are being forgotten. The Brexit Civil Society Alliance is here to make sure that the concerns, hopes and aspirations of civil society are centre stage as the UK makes its exit from the European Union”.




Notes to editors

[1] The Brexit Civil Society Alliance is a UK wide alliance of charities, voluntary and campaigning organisations, all working together to ensure that the voices of civil society are heard in the Brexit process. Read more on our website: www.brexitcivilsocietyalliance.org

[2] Henry VIII powers are one type of delegated legislation that allow ministers to amend or repeal primary legislation - without having to create a new Act of Parliament that parliamentarians must debate and vote on. Henry VIII powers are featured in the following pieces of Brexit legislation : EU Withdrawal Act, The Trade Bill, the Agriculture Bill and the Taxation (Cross-border trade) Bill. Explainer on Henry VIII powers are available here: https://www.brexitcivilsocietyalliance.org/resources-indexpage/explainer-henry-viii-powers

[3] UK Shared Prosperity Fund: creating inclusive growth- briefing by the Equality and Diversity Forum https://www.brexitcivilsocietyalliance.org/resources-indexpage/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-creating-inclusive-growth

[4] Local Growth: Written Statement made by James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government). https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-07-24/HCWS927