How could Brexit affect poverty in the UK

Document type
Barnard, Helen; Heykoop, Laurie; Kumar, Ashwin
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Date of publication
6 September 2018
Social Policy, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Families
Social welfare
Material type

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Key points:

  • Child poverty is set to increase across the country, and to affect poorer areas of the UK worst. This rise predates the Brexit vote and is driven by domestic decisions about housing, social security and the labour market. However, many of the worst-hit areas are also highly exposed to changes in trade with the EU and any loss of regional funding.
  • There are increasingly strong risks of price rises, falls in real wages, lower employment and lower tax revenues as the UK-EU trading relationship becomes incrementally more distant.
  • Poverty rates are not predicted to be greatly affected by Brexit; but this depends on future governments protecting low-income families from the effects of rising inflation by uprating benefits and tax credits to cover rising costs.

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