Read more: David Davis doesn’t understand
The five areas of the UK that receive the most funding from the European Union all voted “Leave,” while four of the five areas that receive the least voted “Remain.”
In the wake of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, there have been many attempts to explain why Britain voted for Brexit. With them have come breakdowns of the demographics: who were the people that voted “Leave”? A consensus has begun to emerge on this question: it was the people who themselves have not benefitted from EU membership—who have been “left behind.”
This analysis is, in one sense, correct. 58 per cent of households with incomes below £20,000 per year voted for Brexit, while only 35 per cent of households with incomes above £60,000 did. The pattern is clear: poorer people were more likely to vote “Leave.”
But here’s the weird bit: while those who voted “Leave” are more likely to live in disadvantaged areas of the UK, they often live in areas that receive a large amount of EU funding. This phenomenon—which has previously been dubbed “Brexiting yourself in the foot”—is worth looking at more closely.
The EU gives funding to the UK through various channels, the main ones being the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and two agricultural funds. It was set to give the UK €11.8bn under the first two of these by 2020, which would then have been matched by a British co-funding organisation such as the Department for Work and Pensions. Let’s look at how this EU funding breaks down.
Cornwall gets more funding than anywhere else in Britain: the county has received more than £1bn of aid from the EU over the past 15 years, and was due a further £400m more by 2020. This works out as more than €1000 per person. West Wales was also set to receive more than €1000 per person in EU funding by 2020. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland were set to receive…