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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

‘Hope’ key to Brexit vote

Places with lowest social mobility most likely to have backed Brexit

Analysis by think tank IPPR shows that the local areas with the highest votes to leave were those which have the lowest social mobility and those which backed Remain are the most mobile.

These figures suggest that hope and the chance of a better life played an important part in the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, alongside issues of income, education and class that have been already identified.

New analysis by IPPR shows that geography, social mobility (social outcomes) and voting patterns in the EU referendum appear to be correlated: 97 per cent of the least socially mobile local authorities voted to leave the EU, compared with just 13 per cent of most mobile regions.

Social Mobility Index Rank (highest)

Place

Remain vote

Social Mobility Index Rank (lowest)

Place

Leave vote

1

Westminster

69%

1

West Somerset

61%

2

Wandsworth

75%

2

Norwich

44%

3

Redbridge

54%

3

Wychavon

58%

4

Tower Hamlets

67%

4

Corby

64%

5

Islington

75%

5

Wellingborough

62%

6

Hackney

78%

6

Waveney

63%

7

Kensington and Chelsea

69%

7

Mansfield

71%

8

Ealing

60%

8

Blackpool

67%

Source: Social Mobility Commission and IPPR calculations

The new analysis published today comes alongside the launch of a new programme on social mobility by IPPR, the progressive policy think tank. The programme aims to answer the question: How does Britain improve social mobility in the next decade?

Harry Quilter-Pinner, IPPR Research Fellow said:

“This analysis by IPPR shows that those people most likely to vote Leave were often those who felt they had least to lose. Britain’s implicit social contract - that those who work hard will have a fair chance to get on - has been well and truly broken. ‘Brexit' is a warning that the status quo is no longer politically nor socially tenable.

“It’s clear that there is a strong geographic element to this: where someone lives increasingly shapes their access to opportunity and how satisfied they are with the status quo.

“The government is rightly focussing on the immediate priority, of negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU, but unless it also addresses the causes of Brexit the effort may well be in vain. Giving hope again to many communities that have too long gone without should be one of the highest priority going forward.”

These findings provide support for Theresa May’s commitment to tackle the UK’s “burning injustices” and to create “a country that works for everyone”. However, they also suggest that her efforts to date will fall short of addressing the scale of the problem.

So far the Prime Minister has:

  • Proposed the re-introduction of grammar schools into the education system;
  • Created a new pot of schools funding for underperforming schools in rural and coastal areas;
  • Scrapped maintenance grant for people on low income going to university, and;
  • Put a well justified - but so far underfunded - emphasis on mental health.

IPPR’s new programme of work will set out across all areas of policy how this government’s disappointing start on social mobility can be addressed with a bold policy manifesto covering education, health, welfare, housing and industrial policy with the aim of delivering a significant upswing in social mobility by 2030.

Ends

Contact:

Becky Malone 07585 772633 r.malone@ippr.org

Editor’s Note:

IPPR aims to influence policy in the present and reinvent progressive politics in the future, and is dedicated to the better country that Britain can be through progressive policy and politics. With nearly 60 staff across four offices throughout the UK, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.

Our independent research is wide ranging, it covers the economy, work, skills, transport, democracy, the environment, education, energy, migration and healthcare among many other areas. ippr.org