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CASE Social Exclusion Seminars

What does Brexit mean for social policy in the UK? An exploration of the potential consequences of the 2016 referendum for public services, inequalities and social rights (SPDO seminar series)

Kitty Stewart, Kerris Cooper (CASE) and Isabel Shutes (LSE Social Policy)


Wednesday 21 November 2018 16:30 - 18:00

32L 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH


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Kitty Stewart and Kerris Cooper will present findings from the forthcoming paper which explores the potential consequences of the EU referendum result for social policy in Britain. Written while negotiations continue, with future relationships highly uncertain, we seek to map the ways that Brexit may affect social policy, inequalities and social rights. Drawing together what we know so far from the emerging body of research and analysis being conducted by academics, research organisations and government departments, we consider both indirect and direct implications of Brexit. The first part of the paper looks at effects operating via the political and economic consequences of the referendum - both the fallout from the result itself, and the potential consequences for economic growth and economic inequalities of a future outside the EU.

The second part considers the more direct ways in which Brexit may affect aspects of social policy and inequalities. We cover four main areas:

  1. implications of withdrawal from European labour, social protection and human rights instruments for social and employment rights.

  2. implications of restrictions on free movement for social rights and entitlements of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.

  3. implications of leaving the single market for public service delivery, access and quality.

  4. implications of Britain "taking back control" of contributions to the EU budget and regaining greater liberty regarding public procurement rules and industrial policy, for regional and public investment strategies. Throughout, the paper aims to identify the opportunities offered by Brexit as well as the challenges.


The paper forms part of a much larger research programme, Social Policies and Distributional outcomes in a Changing Britain (SPDO), funded by the Nuffield Foundation, which will combine systematic public expenditure and social policy analysis across ten major social policy areas with quantitative analysis of trends in outcomes for different groups, resulting in a unique evidence base on trends in social policies and social inequalities in 21st century Britain.

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This event will take place in 32L 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH. The building is labelled on the map.

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