By-Election voters worse off from broken Brexit promises

  • Six years on from the referendum, replacement funding from the UK government for constituencies of Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton far less than what they received from the EU. 
  • Rip off revealed as voters in these constituencies go to the polls in crucial by-elections. 
  • New polling suggests that less than a quarter of people in Yorkshire and the South West have seen a positive impact as a result of Brexit. 

New analysis suggests that voters in this week’s by-elections have seen investment in their areas cut by as much as half following the replacement of the European Regional Development fund with the UK Shared prosperity Fund. 

The findings published today by cross-party internationalist campaign group Best for Britain show that voters in West Yorkshire including Wakefield have had investment in their area cut by around a fifth or £21.58 per person, while voters in Devon, are set to lose around a half of their regional investment equal to £28.95 per person.

As part of the November 2020 spending review the government described the overall purpose of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as “to level up and create opportunity” but before the European Regional Development Fund was replaced by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the post-Brexit withdrawal agreement, Devon received €67 (£57.60) per capita funding but under the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, introduced in April 2022, the region is now expected to receive £28.65 (€33.32) per capita funding. 

In West Yorkshire €139 (£119.53) of per capita funding from the EU will become £97.90 (€113.89) per head, casting doubt over Government promises to the areas which voted to leave the European Union that they would be ‘better off’. 

Indeed, new polling conducted by Focaldata on behalf of Best for Britain reveals that less than a quarter of voters in both the South West and Yorkshire believe they have seen a positive impact as a result of Brexit, despite 53% and 58% of voters in the respective regions voting leave in the 2016 referendum. 

The findings come ahead of by-elections in Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield on 23 June, the sixth anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

Naomi Smith, CEO of better democracy campaign group Best for Britain said: 

“This government sold the people of West Yorkshire and Devon the dream of increased opportunity and investment under their Brexit deal, it is now clear that in practice the opposite is true.

“Communities all across the country deserve better than empty promises of levelling up and a hard Brexit deal that has squandered regional investment, all the while being sold a lie of shared prosperity.”

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said:

“Communities all over the UK are losing out on regional investment and these figures show that Devon is no different. Far from levelling up, this loss in funding will squeeze local services and reduce opportunities in the South West. 

“I’m sure this is not the Brexit that so many people across this county voted for.”