Health scare: Voters' fears grow for NHS after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:26 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:23 02 November 2017

Chuka Umunna gives a speech at a Vote Leave Watch event

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The true impact of Brexit is starting to dawn on Britain. MARC BETTS reports on the latest survey that highlights the nation’s burgeoning panic

Fears over the future of the NHS have spiked since the Brexit vote.

Open Britain and the European Movement asked voters a series of questions about their thoughts on key issues before and after Brexit.

The polling showed 45% of people – including a fifth of Leave voters – agreed that Brexit had caused them to be more concerned about the state of the NHS.

The figures apparently confirm that the even Leave voters have now abandoned any hope that the claim £350m a week extra would be spent on the NHS post-Brexit could become reality.

Concern for the health service is strongest among female voters, with 51% of women polled believing Brexit will be bad for the NHS.

The poll also uncovered an increasing lack of faith in the stalling Brexit negotiations.

The majority of those surveyed said they do not expect the Government to be able to negotiate a good Brexit deal by 2019.

On top of this, 69% of voters agree that Brexit is more complicated than they were told before the referendum. With more than half of those being Leave voters.

Many appeared to have been unaware that Brexit would impact them so heavily – with 43% of voters surprised that Brexit affects so many issues in their lives. Once again, nearly half of those being Leave voters.

The poll looked into how households are already being squeezed as Brexit looms with higher prices in the shops as the value of sterling falls.

A majority of 59% agreed that their weekly shop has increased since the referendum. Of those saying they are now paying more, again, half voted Leave.

The survey backs up recent polls which have shown a distinct swing towards the public believing Britain would be better off staying in the European Union.

MP for Streatham and former Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna said: “The public are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the Hard Brexit they have been offered by this chaotic Government.

“As they look past the nonsense and bluster of the Brextremists, people are very worried about the complexity of the Brexit process, its impact on their weekly shopping bills and our public services.

“During the referendum campaign, they promised a cost-free Brexit, in which our economy and our NHS would not just be unaffected but boosted. Instead, we’ve seen lower growth, higher prices in the shops, and the recruitment of nurses falling heavily.”

Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the European Movement UK, said: “As the facts about Brexit become known, it’s clear the British public are becoming more and more uneasy about the impact of leaving the EU on our NHS, the cost of living, and Britain’s place in the world.

“Leave campaigners promised us Brexit would be easy – but the evidence of the last 16 months shows it is anything but. People are waking up to the fact that this process is far more complex than Boris and his colleagues ever admitted.

“As the Brexit process grinds on, it is becoming ever more obvious that whatever deal the Government is finally able to agree within itself, never mind with our EU partners, will bear little or no resemblance to the deal offered by the Leave campaign.”

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