The European Movement's extensive survey of supporters and UK residents reveals a dire picture of Brexit impacts. Almost all respondents cited an impact of Brexit in their local area, and local government officials report getting little help from Westminster.
With reports of shortages of workers, disruptions to trade, and the unavailability of key commodities, the European Movement UK conducted an online survey of more than four thousand contacts across the UK. The results were stark.
More than 95% of respondents cited some negative impact Brexit had had on their local community. When prompted, 84% said they had observed empty shelves in shops and supermarkets near them, with the problem only growing worse in recent weeks.
As part of the survey effort, local government officials were also asked how Brexit has impacted the areas they represent. The testimony we received was grim.
79% of councillors reported handling Brexit-related casework since 1st January 2021, while a full 73% said that the support they had received from central government was 'poor' or 'very poor'.
By contrast, local authorities were judged to have performed better. 48% of councillors said they believed the council administration had offered 'satisfactory' support on Brexit-related issues, with a further 27% rating council support as 'good' or 'very good'.
The economic impacts of Brexit seem to be most prominent on councillors' agenda. Of the negative Brexit impacts cited, impacts on local businesses were the most widespread with 63% of councillors reporting related casework. A noticeable number of councillors admitted to helping EU and EEA citizens with Settled Status related casework (34%), in a sign that Settled Status applicants are seeking assistance from many different channels.
Respondents highlighted especially the eyewatering costs of staff shortages in their area. A focus for many councillors was waste management services, although many also noted the blow felt by hospitality and logistics sectors. One respondent noted that key social housing building and repairs projects were being delayed and even deferred indefinitely as suppliers could not quote for key materials.
However, other representatives noted that the effects of Brexit are uneven and that their area was less acutely affected than others. Another noted that the impacts of Brexit were masked by and caught up in the negative impacts of the pandemic, making it difficult to conclude that Brexit was directly responsible.
All in all, a complex but decidedly negative picture of Brexit's localised impacts emerged. As shortages and disruptions grow worse, we can only expect this picture to grow darker still for many.