Live updates as third sector responds to the UK’s decision to leave Europe
4pm: Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock said: “The UK has made the decision to leave the European Union - although we note the significant disparity in voting across the UK nations, and Scotland’s support for remaining in the EU. The decision to leave will impact all demographics across the UK, including families, children and young people.While the political and economic future of Britain is arguably now uncertain, Children in Scotland remain absolutely committed to improving the lives of children, young people and families. In these coming years we will continue to work with our local, national and European partners in the third sector to further advance the rights of children and their representatives, as well as parents and families across Scotland. Furthermore, we urge the Scottish and UK governments to continue to adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights. We will continue our work at parliamentary level to ensure the rights of children and young people are fully respected and enshrined in Scots law going forward. It remains to be seen if the warnings of instability across the UK will come to fruition, but we firmly believe that stability is critical for all across the country, especially our most disadvantaged families. We will continue to work with our members, calling upon your knowledge and expertise to be improve and protect the rights of children, young people and families in Scotland. We will work to ensure that in the developing situation in Scotland, the wider UK and the EU, the needs and rights of children and families are at the heart of decision making.”
2pm: Inclusion Scotland, Sally Witcher, chief executive: The reality now is that the human rights, equality rights and workers’ rights that could not be removed while we remained an EU member are now no longer secure. The many third sector organisations that rely on European funding appear to face a bleak future. And already our economy seems to be in free-fall. Just a week ago there was talk of a ‘punishment budget’ with yet more swingeing cuts to public spending, should ‘leave’ prevail. That now seems inevitable. But haven’t we disabled people already been punished enough? And for what? Did we cause this situation? No. This cannot continue. Inclusion Scotland calls on Scottish disabled people and our organisations to come together and work together. We must seize all opportunities – and there will be many because everything is now up in the air - not just to protect what we currently have, but improve on it. That is our goal. That is what we must do.
1pm: The Poverty Alliance: "The result of the UK referendum is clear and the decision to leave the European Union will have long standing consequences for anti-poverty campaigners here and across the continent. Those forces across Europe that seek to reduce social rights, who wish to increase deregulation, and who see migration only as a problem, will be bolstered by the UK result. Campaigners who want their national governments to take real action to address poverty, or to protect and extend rights at work, who want moves for greater equality between men and women, may now find that their task has become somewhat harder."
10.50: Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations: John Downie, director of public affairs: "This is a hugely concerning result for the third sector in Scotland. For decades we have gained from close co-operation between European civil society, sharing a broad interest in social issues, containing market forces and promoting strong welfare policies. We have benefited from collaboration and cooperation through EU networks, civil dialogue with EU institutions and transnational funding opportunities. It looks likely that our sector will lose at least £20 million from European Structural and Investments Funds, money used by Scottish charities to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. With a fractured Conservative Government in Westminster scrambling to work out what it will do next, we are left with only worries about how this gap will be filled. Only one certainty remains: Scotland’s diverse and strong third sector will campaign vigorously to make sure our voices are heard."
10.45: Friends of the Earth Scotland:“There will likely be a huge fight at the UK level to keep laws which protect nature, prevent pollution and set standards for a clean environment," said FoES director Dr Richard Dixon. "Most of EU environmental law is devolved to the Scottish Parliament so Scotland can decide to keep these protections in place but we will still feel the impact of deep cuts to budgets for the environment. As a society we lose the protection of being able to appeal to European courts if either the UK or Scottish governments are failing to protect the environment."
10.40: Social Enterprise UK:Peter Holbrook, chief executive, said: "Our immediate worry is that social enterprises will be affected by knee-jerk reactions from the state, banks and big business. We want to avoid social enterprises facing the pinch by a combination of a freeze on public sector contracts, banks using the decision as an excuse not to lend money, and for-private profit businesses seeking to keep their balance sheets looking good by squeezing their suppliers. In the medium term, we will likely see EU Social Fund spending repatriated, and it is critical that in the future the UK government commits to spending the same amount (or more) on supporting people into employment and vocational training. Longer term, there are implications for public sector procurement policy and competition law, much of which has been agreed at an EU level before being incorporated into domestic law.
10.40: Scottish Environment Link:president Joyce McMillan said: "The UK electorate’s decision to vote in favour of leaving the EU does not change the fact that Scotland and the UK are facing tremendous challenges in terms of environmental degradation. Through the UK’s EU membership, Scotland has benefited from a number of critical pieces of EU environmental legislation such as EU Nature Laws, air and water quality. Now, the direction of travel for Scotland needs to be one that builds on those achievements, rather than one that seeks to weaken or undo the progress which our EU membership has helped us to secure. This is equally true for UN agreements to which the UK and Scotland have committed themselves via the EU, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change."
10.40: Electoral Reform Society:Spokesperson Rory Scothorne:"We are clearly in uncharted political waters here. The governments of the UK should very quickly issue a joint holding statement on how they might plot a course through this turbulent constitutional time. This vote poses big questions about the constitution of the UK as a political entity going forward, with the UK’s nations divided. Without action now we risk descending into constitutional chaos, and it’s vital that the public are involved in the discussions that lie ahead about the ramifications of this split vote. Despite an unremittingly negative campaign, people took their democratic duty seriously and turned out in higher than expected numbers. The public's appetite to engage in constitutional issues, seen first in the independence referendum and reflected in yesterday’s turnout – higher than the recent Holyrood election – is clear. The referendum should mark the beginning not the end of involving the public in shaping future democracy in Scotland and the UK."
10.30: NUS Scotland:President Vonnie Sandlan said: "This is an incredibly disappointing result, and one that Scotland clearly took a different stand against. We saw a really positive and diverse campaign in Scotland for our continued membership of the EU – and students were at the heart of that, recognising the immense benefits membership brings for students and young people, and our universities and colleges. This was a UK-wide vote, but the voices of the positive majority in Scotland cannot be ignored. In the coming weeks and months it is vital that the UK Government works closely with the devolved governments, and with all of us who stood up proudly for our EU membership ensuring we do all we can to stem the damaging consequences we know this result could have.”
10.20: Charities Aid Foundation: John Lowe, chief executive: “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.”