NEWS13 October 2023

Economic issues partly blamed on Brexit by UK voters

Brexit News Public Sector UK

UK – British voters are increasingly pessimistic that Brexit will turn out well and more than half believe leaving the European Union is causing economic problems for the UK, according to research from Public First and UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE).

UK and EU flags outside the Palace of Westminster

The report, called Exploring Bregret, found that 30% of respondents think Brexit will turn out well, but that most Leave voters ( 61%) still think it will turn out ok.

Both Leave and Remain voters are associating problems in their daily lives with the impact of Brexit, with those who had been affected by or noticed shortages of food ( 75%) or NHS and social care staff ( 76%) and travel delays ( 73%) believing that Brexit was either entirely or partially responsible.

The results are based on a nationally representative poll of 4,005 people in the UK carried out online between 26th May and 2nd June 2023, supported by five focus groups run between May and September 2023 with Leave voters in Bassetlaw, Ashfield and Thurrock.

More than seven in ten voters that have noticed or experienced cost increases say that Brexit was in some way responsible for it, the report added.

However, only 16% of Leave voters said they would vote Remain compared with 6% of Remain voters who would change to Leave.

The research found 51% of Leave voters attributed Brexit’s failure to a lack of competence among British political leaders.

Sophie Stowers, researcher at UKICE, said: “This report shows that many of the assumptions about Leavers who are unhappy with the course of Brexit are false.

“To assume that unhappiness with the implementation of Brexit directly translates to support for Remain or re-join is presumptuous. Rather, many Leavers would still vote as they did in 2016, and think that Brexit can be salvaged with the right political leadership.”

Rachel Wolf, founding partner at Public First, said: “There’s a great sense of frustration amongst the electorate, regardless of whether people voted Leave or Remain.

“This is making it difficult for any of the main parties to use Brexit to their own electoral advantages. While the party leaders’ natural inclination will be to shut up about the whole thing, there’s a lot in it for the leader who can show that there’s a route to a bright future outside the EU, no matter how we got here.”