Rural and island areas among most vulnerable to impact of Brexit

Interactive map displays risks of leaving the EU for communities across Scotland.


Many of the areas at greatest risk from the impact of Brexit are rural or on islands, a new analysis finds.

The Local Level Brexit Vulnerabilities in Scotland report also finds that urban areas, especially Glasgow, have significant populations at risk from the impact of Brexit.

The analysis breaks the map of Scotland down into 7,000 geographical units called datazones.

Across these datazones a series of factors that put communities at risk to Brexit, not just a ‘no deal’ Brexit, have been plotted.

These factors include: access to services, what share of the population is of working age, income deprivation, workers in Brexit-sensitive industries, EU worker migration and how many EU payments are received.

The resulting map of vulnerabilities shows a higher concentration of the most at-risk datazones in remote and rural locations.

However, because of large populations and higher rates of deprivation, significant populations in urban areas including Glasgow, Fife, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and Edinburgh live in the datazones most vulnerable to Brexit.

The report is being released with an interactive online Brexit Vulnerabilities Index Map, which can be used by local authorities and other organisations as a tool to help plan for Brexit.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“This report and analysis shows that rural and remote areas Scotland could be among the hardest hit by any kind of Brexit.

“However, as outlined by the Deputy First Minister yesterday, Scotland’s people, economy, and businesses will be especially impacted by a calamitous ‘no deal’ Brexit, and we urge the UK Government to rule it out now.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“We always knew that Brexit could be damaging to Scotland, but this analysis lays out in stark terms how vulnerable communities across the country - urban and rural - are to its impact.

“As a responsible government, we will do what we can to mitigate and minimise its impact: this study only underlines the scale of that task and the recklessness of the UK Government in continuing to pursue Brexit at any cost.”


The Brexit Vulnerabilities Index Map is now live here:

The report has been produced by RESAS (Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services).

The interactive map is designed to support local authorities and other organisations in understanding local risks around EU exit.

Whilst results can be found for individual datazones, these should not be viewed in isolation: the risks that any individual datazone faces depend on a range of other factors such as the vulnerability of the region in which is it located, commuter patterns, and other unique local characteristics.

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