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Report Launch: 48:52 Healing a Divided Britain

In light of the referendum result on 23 June, Britain will exit the European Union. The CSJ's focus is to ensure this is done in a manner that delivers a good outcome for those in our disadvantaged communities.

The decision to leave the European Union was a bold and unequivocal statement for millions of people who want to change the political, economic and social status quo. It must kick-start a national conversation aimed at understanding the deep divides in our nation.

Through extensive research, interviews and polling across the country, the Centre for Social Justice and Legatum Institute have sought to understand the issues that really matter to British people.

Our report, 48:52 Healing a Divided Britain, digs beneath the surface of well-trodden themes of immigration, sovereignty and community alienation to look at the issues really concerning British people.

We offer a practical road map to ensure a successful exit from the EU that meets the needs of our society, especially our most disadvantaged communities and vulnerable people.

We have a once in a lifetime chance to reshape public policy so that it genuinely helps those who feel they have little stake in society and responds directly to the concerns that surfaced in the referendum.

Report: 48:52 Healing a Divided Britain

Understanding the Divide

To better understand the motivations behind individual voting preferences we looked closely at the polling data.

Our analysis shows that poorer and less well-educated voters were more likely to back Leave. The majority of those not in work backed Leave. Those living in council housing and social housing tenants backed Leave. Those dependant on a state pension backed Leave. Those over the age of 44 backed Leave.

At every level of earning there is a direct correlation between household income and your likelihood to vote for leaving the EU - 62 per cent of those with an income of less than £20,000 voted to leave, but that percentage falls in steady increments until, by an income of £60,000, that percentage was just 35 per cent.

This trend was reinforced by further polling by Ashcroft polls, which found that 57 per cent of voters in the more affluent 'AB' demographic group voted Remain, while only 36 per cent of voters in the 'C2' and 'DE' groups voted Remain. It is perhaps the most significant figure that exemplifies this divide - that of the various income groups, AB, C1, C2, D and E, the only group to vote to remain in the EU was the AB group.

In short, the people with little or nothing to lose - as they saw it - backed Leave. The ones who had gained most from EU membership and globalisation backed Remain.

This shows how important moving together as one nation is for major national decisions.

Report: 48:52 Healing a Divided Britain

Healing a Divided Britain

As we have seen from the polling, there is no one reason that the referendum went the way that it did. But three major themes around economic division, social division and political division have emerged.

Remain voters can be characterised as those who have greater job security, greater housing security, and higher incomes. Leave voters, by contrast, tended to be more likely to face job insecurity and housing instability, and more likely to rely on public services to meet daily needs. Or to put it another way, Leave voters felt they had not benefited from the political and economic changes of the past 40 years and thus voted to change it.

The EU referendum result provides a clear case for the government to prioritise social unification during this time of uncertainty, healing divisions caused by the immediate outcome of the vote while further strengthening the institutions and bonds that hold our civil society together.

The vote to leave was a passionate cry from millions of people that feel Westminster no longer knows, or even cares, how it feels to walk in their shoes.

Report: 48:52 Healing a Divided Britain

Brexit Road Map

Healing a divided nation will require a commitment to addressing the economic, social and political gulf that the referendum has exposed. It is an opportunity to reshape our public services in a way that genuinely helps those who feel they have no stake in society. This will require laser-like focus from this and future governments.

In our joint report with Legatum Institute present a road map that manages our exit from the EU and promotes Britain as the autonomous, outward-looking and great trading nation it has always been.

To maximise the opportunities presented by the decision to leave the EU and to minimise potential damage, Britain must put in place concurrent political and economic strategies that will manage its extraction from the EU.

Our report 48:52 lays out a potential road map for Brexit.

The British government's negotiation with the European Commission must be supported by an effective and decisive political strategy that provides legislative support. The following is an indicative outline of the 48:52 reports order of events.

  • Introduce a European Union (UK Withdrawal from Membership) Bill (The Repeal Bill) This will be an important signal of intent, and it needs to be on the statute book in time for the UK to terminate the Article 50 process if it becomes too protracted.
  • Continue "talks about talks" with EU partners so that by the time Article 50 is invoked, the Government has achieved the key object of "minimising any uncertainty".
  • Aim to enact the Repeal Bill as soon as possible after the Article 50 process has been invoked.
  • Aim to conclude the Article 50 process and withdrawal agreement as quickly as possible.
  • Move to real trade negotiations with third countries.
  • Continue discussions about the UK's long-term relationship with the EU.

Now more than ever we need a clear and decisive exit strategy that meets the needs of the British people, especially our most vulnerable, ensuring that everyone has the best life chances, opportunities and support to fulfil their potential.

CSJ Report: 48:52 Healing a Divided Britain