Working class men voting Leave suffer Brexit hit

Working class men to be hit hard
Working class men to be hit hard

Less educated British men employed in manual work, who are thought to have voted overwhelmingly for Leave, are set to be hit hardest by Brexit.

According to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, males with GCSE qualifications or below are more likely than other groups to work in industries at extreme risk from new trade barriers with the EU after Britain’s divorce.

In addition the report lists Northern Ireland and the West Midlands as areas likely to be hardest hit.

As part of new analysis, the IFS found clothing manufacture, transport equipment, car manufacturing and the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors are most “exposed”, given they sell a large amount of their output to the EU.

Agnes Norris Keiller, co-author of the report and economist at IFS, said: “If barriers to trade with the EU increase, particularly the sort of ‘non-tariff’ barriers created by customs checks and regulatory divergence, then some sectors of the economy will be affected more than others.

“Parts of the manufacturing sector are likely to be hardest hit. As a result, the jobs or wages of men with low formal qualifications working in certain manual occupations may be under particular threat.

“These are the sorts of workers who are most likely to find it hard to adapt and to find new roles that are equally well paid elsewhere.”

Data from Ipsos Mori suggests the majority of working class British males with no qualifications voted for Leave in the referendum.

The shocking report comes just a day after Nissan warned a hard Brexit will have “serious implications” for the car-maker’s Sunderland factory.

The Japanese firm, which employs about 8,000 people in the UK, said crashing out of the EU’s single market and customs union into World Trading Organisation rules would be detrimental to its operation. Sunderland voted for Leave in 2016.

A total of 14% of UK workers, or 3.7 million, are employed in industries the IFS classifies as “very highly exposed”, sectors estimated to lose more than 5% of their value if trade with the EU was on WTO rules.

“Men with fewer educational qualifications in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands may be particularly exposed,” the IFS said.