Wednesday 31 August 2016 9:15 am

It's official: Marginalised people drove Brexit vote

Lack of opportunity across huge swathes of the UK led to Brexit, one of the first academic analyses into what drove the referendum result has found.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said that people feeling they had been left behind were the bread and butter of Brexit voters.

The research concludes that groups of voters who have been pushed to the margins of society, who live on low incomes, have few qualifications and lack the skills required to prosper in the modern economy, were more likely than others to endorse Brexit.

The JRF added that the low incomes and low education proved to be a crucial "double whammy", where people with low skills were ‘further cut adrift’ by a lack of opportunities within their local areas to get ahead.

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Julia Unwin, chief executive of the JRF, said: "The research shows how Britain cannot afford to return to business as usual following the vote for Brexit. The result was a wake-up call: for too long, many communities have been struggling as the country’s prosperity passed them by and missed out on opportunities to build a better life.

With energy focussed on the process of leaving the EU, there’s a danger the concerns of people at home are ignored. This analysis should act as beacon for politicians who often talk about representing the concerns of ordinary people. 

The rapid pace of change in the economy has left too many people without the skills and opportunity to get on in life. We must act to ensure prosperity reaches all corners of the country, and provide everyone the chance to earn a good wage in a secure job.

"Theresa May has made the right noises to overcome this and heal the divisions with a promise to make Britain work for all. The priority is making good on this promise."

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Specifically, among households with incomes of less than £20,000 per year the average support for Leave was 58 per cent, compared to households with incomes over £60,000 per year, where support for leaving the EU was only 35 per cent.

And, other things being equal, support for Leave was 30 percentage points higher among those with GCSE qualifications or below than it was for people with a degree.

Lastly, support for Brexit varied not only according to the type of individuals but the type of area. Those with all levels of qualifications were more likely to vote Leave in low skill areas than in high skill areas.

‚ÄčThe research comes after the UK voted for Brexit in June by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent of the voting electorate, which was the culmination of months of bitter battling between Remain and Leave campaigners.

It had been speculated after the referendum result that deprivation and alienation from the political process had led more working class voters to back Leave.