Brexit and Communities

Brexit and Communities

The referendum vote leading to Britain’s forthcoming exit from the European Union (EU) highlighted community divisions and feelings of social exclusion, within Wales and the UK as a whole. Differing perspectives were noted between younger and older people, amongst those with different ethnic backgrounds, and between those within higher and lower income brackets. Unifying communities, building community resilience and enhancing opportunities for social mobility will be crucial to the wellbeing of the population going forward.

In addition, concerns around levels of immigration were at the forefront of some voters’ minds when casting their vote in the referendum. Whatever form Brexit takes, a new immigration strategy will be a pressing priority for the UK government, and from a public health perspective, the successful integration of immigrants into communities is crucial to community cohesion and well-being.

A number of organisations and cross-sectoral partnerships working within communities currently benefit from European funding, and initial research conducted since the Brexit vote has focused on the impacts of Brexit on rural communities, fishing communities, Roma communities and the Irish border communities, demonstrating that there will be consequences (potentially both positive and negative) of the decision to leave the EU for a range of communities.

The poorest households, with incomes of less than £20,000 per year, were much more likely to support leaving the EU than the wealthiest households, as were the unemployed, people in low-skilled and manual occupations, people who feel that their financial situation has worsened, and those with no qualifications. [Source: Brexit vote explained: poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities, Joseph Rowntree Foundation]

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