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EU referendum: considering global poverty and injustice

22 June 2016
Author: Ben Jackson

The EU referendum taking place on Thursday is a momentous occasion. Together with most member organisations, we have felt unable to contribute to this critical debate due to unacceptable limits placed on charities' freedom of expression, including the Charity Commission guidance around the referendum. This is something we will continue to fight against.

That said, there are two messages I would encourage you to consider sharing with your members and supporters during the final day of campaigning: firstly, encourage everyone to exercise their right to have their say and vote tomorrow; secondly, ask supporters to consider the impact of a vote either way on the UK’s ability to tackle global challenges related to poverty and injustice.

ask supporters to consider the impact of a vote either way on the UK’s ability to tackle global challenges

We believe it is right that we remind members of the public who support and engage in international development issues to participate in the democratic process and to consider issues of global poverty in their decision making as the final vote approaches, whatever that consideration leads them to decide.

I am also including links to a number of relevant resources below which may be of interest.

From our members

Pro Remain

Girish Menon (ActionAid) – The EU referendum: what does it mean for tackling global poverty?

Global Justice Now – The radical case to remain in Europe

Kevin Watkins (ODI) – What would a Brexit mean for EU development assistance?


Christian Aid – How might your vote affect the world's poor? Contributions from both sides of the debate

WWF – Environmental implications of the EU referendum

Bond/ODI – Can Britain be a global leader outside the EU?

Pro Leave

John Hilary (War on Want) – EU Referendum: How should the left vote?

Other sources

Pro Remain

Letter to the Guardian (various signatories) – Only inside the European Union can the UK help fight global poverty

Baroness Glenys Kinnock – Op-Ed on international Development and the EU

Linda McAvan MEP – What would Brexit would mean for development?


House of Commons foreign affairs select committee – Implications of the referendum on EU membership for the UK’s role in the world

Pro Leave

James Cleverly MP – African farmers are condemned to poverty by the morally repugnant EU

Letter to the Guardian (Democratic Institutions for Poverty Reduction in Africa) – The European Union is an ongoing disaster for Africa

Crispin Blunt MP – Only Brexit offers a positive vision for Britain's role in the world

About the author

Ben Jackson
United Purpose

Ben Jackson is global director of innovation and partnerships at United Purpose.