Immediately after the EU referendum result the group has consulted its membership to identify post-Brexit issues and risks. VODG’s latest report reinforces the on-going challenges providers are experiencing. With many disability organisations dependent on public funding there is widespread concern that further expenditure cuts post-brexit will leave the sector in much deeper crisis. With members of the group receiving EU financing to support infrastructure, research and development, there are serious concerns about the future of these programmes.
Critical workforce issues are raised in the report including the retention of existing EU nationals and securing the future supply. VODG cautions that uncertainty within the labour market following the result could reduce providers’ abilities to recruit in the short term. It also emphasises that, in the longer term, there are broader workforce planning requirements necessary to ensure an adequate pool of skilled and caring staff in the future.
A further set of issues focuses on community cohesion and rights. The risks highlighted include social divisions in society, reductions in community cohesion and losing progressive approaches to disability rights. In addition concerns are raised about distraction to the raft of domestic issues that voluntary disability organisations urgently need Government and policy makers to address.
The report outlines VODG’s commitment to work on the established issues across the sector. Head of group, Dr Rhidian Hughes said:
“In this first report we are setting out how we will work on the post-Brexit agenda through a series of reviews, intelligence gathering and – most crucially – partnerships across our membership and the sectors within which disability organisations operate.”
He goes on to say:
“Our post-Brexit strategic priorities and activities will be guided by our collective vision for full choice and control for disabled people.”