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Does the EU work for working class people?

The Government has announced a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union will be held on Thursday 23 June 2016. But the debate has been narrowly focused on immigration with little discussion on what the referendum means for working class people more broadly.

There is a class division on Brexit, with the working class largely in favour of the UK leaving the EU and those in highly paid in professions generally wanting to stay in (YouGov polling April 2016). For many this discontent with the EU articulates itself as an anti-immigration stance – a sentiment that UKIP politicians and the ‘leave EU’ campaign have exploited. This political backdrop has greatly coloured the EU debate - misinformation is common and debates on immigration are wrongly divorced from broader trends in the labour market and EU policies.

In light of this, Class set out to make a balanced contribution to the debate, focusing on the areas and issues being overlooked and of most significance to working class people and communities in the UK. We asked key figures from across the labour movement and academic institutions- and with differing attitudes to the EU- the same question – “Does the European Union work for working class people?” – and have compiled their responses in this publication.