DfID warns of 'further discrimination' against UK aid charities by EU

19 Aug 2019 News

Department for International Development

Fergus Burnett

The Department for International Development has written to international aid charities to say that it has been in touch with the European Union after reports that UK charities are being discriminated against. 

Alok Sharma, the international development secretary, sent a letter to the UK’s aid sector about the government’s planning for Brexit at the end of last week.

He said: “We have been in direct communication with the EU Commission, and despite their reassurance that all organisations are treated equally, I understand there have been further reported instances of discrimination. 

“I will continue to raise further reported cases with them and continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Sharma also encouraged charities to apply for DfID’s financial assurance for new programmes before the deadline of 31 October.

The government has offered to cover the costs if charities have their funding terminated in a no-deal scenario. Applicants must tell DfID what funds they have applied for and and when they are successful. 

‘This isn’t just about funding’

Bond, the UK network for civil society organisations working in international development, responded by emphasising the importance of being able to continue to work with EU partners after 31 October.

Claire Godfrey, interim director of policy, advocacy and research at Bond, said: "Our focus is trying to make sure that whatever the outcome of Brexit, it doesn’t leave people across the world facing poverty and conflict any worse off. 

“Better still, it positions the UK to more effectively contribute to delivering the sustainable development goals. 

“The Department for International Development has provided welcome reassurances [on EU funding] to our world-class sector over recent months, but the reality is, this isn’t just about funding.
“This needs to be about redefining the UK’s role in the world in a positive way, by championing international development and aid that prioritises the needs of those who are unfairly excluded from global growth and prosperity. 

“Continuing to work with our EU partners is key to this because that’s the only way we are going to have any hope of tackling huge global challenges such as inequality and poverty, climate change, humanitarian emergencies and the refugee crisis.”

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