On the 23rd of June the people of Britain took to the polls to cast their vote on whether the UK should remain or leave the European Union. The saga became known as Brexit and politicians and the public alike picked their sides and stuck to their guns. There was a long and heated campaign running up to the referendum and both sides fought hard in their efforts in trying to convince voters as to why they should remain or leave.
The British people ultimately voted to leave the European Union, but one striking fact which became clear was that the younger generation strongly voted in favour to remain.
With a new Prime Minister tasked with leading Britain out of the EU and the UK in a state of limbo, here’s five ways leaving the EU might negatively affect young people.
1. Employment prospects in the UK may decrease
Image source – Huffingtonpost.co.uk
Leaving the EU may prompt a recession and young people are the most likely to suffer. Britain spent years recovering from the economic recession which started in 2008 and research shows that graduates who enter the job market during a recession earn less than those who did so in a strong economy and the difference can persist for years. A study surveying HR managers and senior executives of 75 top UK graduate employers released revealed that 49% of employers said they were likely to lower their intake of graduates if Britain left the EU.
With the European Union giving the impression that they’ll make an example of the UK to stop other members possibly leaving, opportunities to move elsewhere in the Union could become scarce for young British workers and they could have a whole new set of hoops to jump through to work abroad.
2. It may have a negative economic impact
There has already been a drop in the pound since the UK voted to leave the EU and if sterling were to continue to fall in the weeks and months ahead, it would have an impact on making the cost of living higher. The effect of leaving the EU on the economy is one of the major factors why a large percentage of young people voted to remain and many of them now fear for their future employment prospects. The economic effect of Brexit could also mean possible tariffs on exports to the European Union and a drop in investment caused by the uncertainty which may lead to a shrinkage in various industries and possible job losses for many including younger people.
3. It may affect young people’s ability to travel
Being a member of the European Union gives Britons the convenience of having visa-Free travel in Europe and this may be threatened by Brexit. While young people may not want to work or live in a European country, being able to travel and go on holiday is important to many of them. The UKs membership of the EU also means airfares are lower because of the single market and roaming charges have been reduced because of this and will be scrapped altogether next year. Leaving the EU means Visa applications could also become more expensive and take longer to process, and young travellers might lose their ability to use the current European Health Insurance Card, leaving them
with higher insurance costs. So weather young people are travelling during a gap year or going on holiday with their friends, they can expect this to become much more expensive and inconvenient.
4. A change to the educational experience
It is no secret that undergraduates studying in the UK pay some of the highest tuition fees in the world with an average of £6,000 per year. Because of this, some young Britons choose to study at significantly cheaper European universities with the Netherlands and Germany being particularly popular. With Britain’s impending exit from the EU and it being harder for young people to get visas, the fees to study in Europe may become more expensive. If Britain is no longer a member of the EU, it can be assumed they will be paying international student rates if those institutions decide to charge them.
Money is not the only factor when young people are deciding whether to study at university. Many young people go to university for the life experience and they get to meet a diverse mixture of people during their studies but this may be hindered by leaving the EU. There are more than 20,000 EU students at UK universities and this number is likely to dramatically decrease in the wake of Brexit.
5. Is there now a wedge between the younger and older generations?
There is already a huge gap between young and older people when it comes to relations and the decision to leave the EU could make this worse. 75% of voters under the age of 25 opted to stay in the EU and majority of the over 65 age group voted to leave. The divide in in terms of views and outlook became very apparent after the referendum.
Opportunities for young people across the continent would also reduce as the UK will lose the automatic right to live and work in the other 27 EU countries. It’s also likely younger workers will have to work harder to pay for social spending on Britain’s ageing population, with less support from younger skilled immigrant workers, who have helped redress the balance in recent years.