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Household pessimism on Brexit impact widespread

Posted at March 27, 2017 | Categories : News

New data from IHS Markit suggests that British households have become increasingly pessimistic regarding the long-term economic prospects following last year’s vote to leave the EU.  

The March poll, conducted by Ipsos MORI, showed the proportion of people expecting the UK economy to fare better over the next ten years falling to 29%, down from 39% last July. The proportion seeing economic prospects to have worsened has, meanwhile, risen from 42% to 53%. 

The greatest pessimism regarding the longer-term impact of Brexit continued to be seen in Scotland, followed by the North East and London. The March survey also saw all age groups turn pessimistic – the youngest remained the most negative, however, the older people have now become net pessimists about the longer-run impact of Brexit. The net balance among the 55-64 age bracket has swung from +10% last July to -8% in March. 

One of the biggest turnarounds in sentiment was evident in the poorest wage bracket. Last July’s survey found those earning less than £15,000 per annum had been the only upbeat wage bracket, with a net balance of +10% of optimists exceeding pessimists. In contrast, the March survey reveals that the proportion of pessimists in this pay bracket now exceeds optimists by some 29%, making it the most pessimistic of all pay brackets.  

Only manufacturing and construction workers could see grounds for optimism and the greatest degree of pessimism was again seen in media, culture & entertainment, followed by IT & Telecoms, education, and health & social services. 

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, says: “Much will inevitably depend on the Brexit negotiations, and it will be fascinating to see how sentiment changes over course of the next two years, and hopefully we’ll see sentiment turn more positive. However, for now it seems that the population has at least become more downbeat on the economic consequences of Brexit.”