back to top

These Are The Challenges Post-Brexit Britain Could Be Facing By 2030

Inequality will increase, working practices will be less secure, and public services will be under further strain, according to a new report.

Posted on
Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

A wide-ranging report has laid out how demographic changes, economic shifts, and technological advances will affect the UK by 2030.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report, published today, suggests many of the anticipated changes, including to the demographic makeup of the UK, will be exacerbated by Britain's decision to leave the European Union in June.

While the British government is still grappling with exactly what it means by "Brexit means Brexit", the authors note that cutting ties with the EU – in whatever form – will place Britain on a lower growth and investment trajectory and affect peoples' living standards.

In a statement, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer MP said the report showed "the importance of ensuring we get the best possible Brexit deal that protects jobs, the economy, and living standards".

“It also reminds us that there are wider and profound challenges facing Britain in the years and decades to come – both to our economy, society, and our place in the world," he added.

Here's what the report predicted.

1. The population is going to grow and a significant number will be over the age of 65.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The population is going to grow rapidly. By 2030, there will be more people living in the UK than in France, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) predicted last year. By 2050, Britain will have the largest population in Europe.

In this time, the population aged 65 and over will grow by 33% to 15.4 million and the over-80 population will almost double by 2030. Figures from the ONS, released last year, suggested that by mid-2039 1 in 12 people would be over 80 years old.

Meanwhile, this burden on the social care system appears unlikely to be balanced by an increased workforce: The working population (aged 16–64) will grow by just 3% during the same period. Expert estimates suggest this will mean for every 100 working people there will be 37 pensioners, up from about 31 today.

2. Diversity will increase.

Cate Gillon / Getty Images

The nonwhite population is expected to increase from 14% in 2011 to around 21% in 2030. By 2050, the report predicts, a third of the population will be nonwhite. This is in line with previous predictions from research published by Leeds University in 2010.

Despite Brexit and tighter controls on immigration, migration will also remain high. Net migration, although predicted to fall in the short term due to the UK's diminished economy, will continue to account for almost half the expected population growth.

Advertisement

3. Inequality will increase.

Matt Cardy / Getty Images

The richest in society are forecast to increase their wealth. At the moment, CEOs at Britain's biggest companies are paid on average 144 times the median annual household income – but by 2030 this disparity will have increased to 350 times. Those currently in the highest bracket will see their income increase by 11 times.

Simultaneously, the poorest in society are expected to be badly let down. A total of 3.6 million people, including 1.2 million children, are predicted to fall into poverty.

These predictions are supported by findings of the Fabian Society and Landman Economics from last year, using Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) figures. However, that report suggested that even these numbers may be "too positive", and ignored the "possibility of further social security cuts", or future tax changes.

4. Public services are going to be placed under extreme strain.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Social care in particular will face a number of serious problems. Between 2010 and 2030, the number of people requiring daily physical assistance to care for themselves will double (from 1 million to 2 million). This will come at a time when the funding gap for adult social care is projected to stand at 62% of the total estimated social care budget – a shortfall of £13 billion.

The NHS will have to grapple with an estimated £9 billion shortfall from 2030. The number of people aged 65 and over diagnosed with dementia will have increased by 80% from 2010.

Authors also predict that as many as 33% of women and 30% of men will be obese. An NHS article suggests the cost of the resulting healthcare issues from obesity could total as much as £2 billion annually.

The potentially negative economic impact of Brexit will be shouldered by the poorest segment of society, who (thanks to growing inequality) will be increasingly dependent on the state. The shrinking economy, forecast to be £55 billion smaller as a result of our decision to leave the EU, will have a knock-on effect on public finances as government departments are forced to cut back or offload responsibility on to already struggling local authorities.

5. Technology will change the way we work.

Leon Neal / Getty Images

The generation entering work during the 2020s may face historically low pay in comparison with previous post-war decades. They will also enter a workplace unlike their parents', and experts predict a steep rise in the so-called gig economy. "Without effective regulation it will worsen working conditions for many while reducing wages," the report warns.

Meanwhile, the report suggests that during that period, unions, once the protectors of workers' rights, will fall away. By 2030, 90% of workers will not belong to a union.

Automation will place two-thirds of jobs at risk, a finding backed by the World Economic Forum in a report earlier this year. The IPPR report singled out retail workers as being among the most at risk – 60% of those jobs may go – which tallies with the Bank of England's assessment that the lowest paid are most under threat. Overall, 50% of professions will be "radically reconfigured", according to the report's authors, by 2030.

6. The housing crisis is not going to get any better.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The report's authors predict that 70% of 16-to-34-year-olds will be living in private rented accommodation by 2030. In 2003, only 20% of the same age bracket were living in similar accommodation. By 2030, roughly 40% of all under-40s will be living with their parents. Only around 14% of people live with their parents today. Obviously, homeownership will continue to decline among the young.

These shifts will be caused by the changing demographics, with older people more likely to have a toehold on the market, and the shifting employment market making it harder than ever before for younger generations to have a stable, regular income.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at .

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.