Report on the potential social and equality impacts of Brexit in Scotland

Date: 12th February 2020
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare, Child poverty, Social security


The analysis, by Dr Eve Hepburn, suggests that Brexit is likely to have both general socioeconomic and legal impacts, as well as specific impacts, for equalities groups. These impacts will differ depending on the type of Brexit that occurs.

The report focuses on two main questions:

  • What effect might the UK's decision to leave the EU have on the legal rights and protections of individuals and groups in Scotland?
  • In the case that Brexit has a negative impact on the UK economy, what might this mean for people's jobs, spending and access to public services?

These questions are examined from the perspective of twenty equalities groups in Scotland who may face discrimination or exclusion as a result of their personal characteristics. These groups include disabled people, people from minority ethnic communities, migrants, care-experienced people, elderly people, faith and religious communities, children and young people, homeless people and women.

This report identifies a total of 137 possible impacts of Brexit on these groups, including impacts on legal rights, access to public services, access to funding, employment, housing and consumer spending.

Moreover, it finds that the potentially adverse socio-economic and legal impacts will be most deeply felt by people experiencing multiple disadvantage and suggests that future research should adopt an intersectional perspective on equalities impacts.

The report notes that the lack of a UK-wide equalities impact assessment of Brexit leaves a significant gap in understanding its implications.