The UK declared that they would be leaving the European Union after the EU referendum in 2016. Since then the UK has been trying to negotiate deals with the EU in Brussels to agree trade legislation and immigration laws. However, so far a deal has not been found that was acceptable to parliament. This has meant a high degree of uncertainty, and a delayed leaving date of the 31st of October.
Whatever happens in five months’ time, it is possible that the most damage has already been done – maybe even before the Brexit process even began.
The UK population continues its rapid growth because more people are immigrating to the UK than leaving. There was a 244,000 net migration in 2017 according to the Office of National Statistics. This is having a detrimental impact on the amount of housing, the amount of money spent on the publicly-funded NHS and the cost of Universal Credit payments being available.
Another major influence on UK population growth is public spending on higher education. 21% of students in 2016/17 from outside of the UK. These numbers have only increased. Over 200,000 visas were given to international students in 2017, which is at least 150,000 more than any other working group.
Lack of High Paid Job Opportunities in the UK
“They’ve come over here and taken our jobs” is a common cry by unemployed Britons in frustration at their lack of success in job-hunting. While a large number of immigrants have migrated to the UK, European workers have more work-based skills and work higher paid jobs on average than UK citizens. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1974 in Britain, but the number of high-paid roles is falling and workers from overseas are taking an increasing share of jobs in social care, health care and education.
North-South Divide and Inequality
Although class divide seems to have lessened over time, there is still a pay gap between the North and the South. Wages by region graphs show that people living in the South of England are far more likely to earn over £25,000 per year than people in the North of England. Therefore, high skilled workers and graduates are inclined to move to the South for a higher paid job or move overseas. The evolution of the North v South divide also means that gaining employment in the South is more difficult for those from the Midlands and Northern England. Emigrating might be the best option for their job prospects.
Inequality in the UK is among its worst point in history and the UK has been one of the most unequal societies in Europe since the 1990’s. Low-paid jobs often lead to anxiety and depression, at a time when the waiting lists for mental health services are increasing.
Without the relevant treatment, mental health problems can worsen, relationships can break down and people can lose their jobs. Being unemployed is proven to increase the likelihood of drug and alcohol overdose and even suicide, a cause of death that is on the rise for men and women in their late ‘40s and early ‘50s.