Behind the Headlines

“Manual workers 'at greatest risk' from Brexit”

Written on 10/08/2018



What’s the story?

Men with few qualifications are most at risk of losing their jobs if the UK leaves the single market or the customs union, according to a new study. Read the full story on the Sky News website.


How reliable is the story?

Reliable. The study, carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, analyses the supply chains most affected by Brexit and finds that it is the labour intensive industries, such as textiles, chemicals and car manufacturing, that are most exposed to risk if Brexit goes ahead.


What’s the background?

  • A new study produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that Brexit will have the biggest negative impact on men with few qualifications. Evidence.
  • The study shows how much UK industries rely on membership of the single market and the customs union for trade in components of goods, like car parts, as well as the final products. Evidence.
  • It finds that the industries most exposed to the risks of new trade barriers after Brexit are transport equipment, clothing and textiles, and chemical manufacturing. Evidence.
  • For example, the clothing and textiles industry exports 37% of its output to the EU, while machinery and equipment industries export 28% of their output to the EU. Evidence.
  • Around 19% of these industries’ workforce is comprised of (often older) men with the lowest level of formal qualifications (GCSEs or less). Evidence.
  • This means that a demographic which two years ago tended to vote for Brexit will most likely be the group hardest hit by the negative impact of Brexit on jobs. Evidence.
  • Several major car manufacturers in the UK such as Nissan and Toyota, have warned the government of the risks of leaving the single market, and have recently made their concerns public. Evidence.
  • Another paper produced by the University of Birmingham, shows how businesses that rely on imported components, as well as final products, such as large manufacturing companies, are also exposed to the risks of Brexit. Evidence.
  • British businesses, including manufacturing, are now even more anxious about Brexit than they have ever been since the referendum result in June 2016, and 79% of chief financial officers now expect the long-term business environment to be worse if Brexit goes ahead. Evidence.

This Behind the Headlines Briefing was first published on the DoorstepEU app: http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/app