Our response to the EU referendum

24 June 2016

Following the referendum result in favour of the UK leaving the European Union, CAF Chief Executive John Low said:

“While we now have certainty over the referendum result, the repercussions of Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union are far from clear.

“Such a change will inevitably cause a period of uncertainty, but is also likely to present opportunities which charities, as always, will be ready to take to bring people together and tackle some of society’s greatest challenges.

“Those who successfully campaigned to leave the EU argued that this would allow Britain to play a greater role on the international stage. Britain’s culture of charitable giving and the important work of our international charities are hugely significant to how we are viewed by other nations. As Britain starts a new chapter in our approach to international relations, charities must be given the chance to play a leading role.

“In the short-term, the cloud of uncertainty hovering over the nation’s finances will have an impact on charities and their ability to help some of society’s most vulnerable people. It will be vital for the millions who benefit from the support of charities that government addresses this quickly. A strong and stable economy is a crucial factor in people and businesses feeling able to donate to good causes.”

CAF has set out four priorities for government to address in the wake of today’s referendum result.

  • Ensure that the City of London’s status as a global hub of philanthropy is maintained, through protecting the capital’s position as one of the world’s major finance centres. Any decline in the City of London is likely to have a significant impact on British philanthropy.


  • Commit to EU rules which make it easier for people to donate to causes in other European countries. Currently, people in the UK are able to claim tax relief on donation they make to charities in other EU countries. The arrangement is reciprocated for EU residents donating to UK charities.


  • Clarify whether it intends to uphold the EU’s main sustainability rules for businesses, which form the basis of many UK companies’ long-term corporate social responsibility programmes.


  • Provide funding for charitable work which has been reliant on EU money. In 2014, 240 charities in the UK received £217 million from the EU. Any funding shortfall resulting from leaving the EU should be met by greater domestic funding.
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