Charity finance policy

The wealthy and business prioritised over disadvantaged communities in Brexit negotiations, say British public

Just 9% of British adults believe that disadvantaged people and communities are one of the government’s top three priorities in the Brexit negotiations.

This compares with 54% who believe that British business is a top-three priority and 43% that wealthy people and communities are a top-three priority.

More of the public believed that foreign-owned businesses were a top-three priority (35%) compared with charities and voluntary organisations which work on behalf of the public (5%).

New polling on the government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations so far has found that the public believes that the wealthy and businesses are high amongst the government’s priorities, while disadvantaged people and communities are a lower priority.

The polling highlights a risk that the government is seen to be focused on the needs of wealthy people and businesses, rather than those of disadvantaged people and communities. This suggests that, rather than bringing people together, Brexit runs a risk of alienating people even further.

When asked to rate which groups were in the government’s top-three priorities for the Brexit negotiations:

  • 54% of respondents said British businesses;
  • 43% said wealthy people and communities;
  • 36% said the British public
  • 35% said foreign-owned businesses

Only 16% thought that “people like me” were a top-three priority for government, and just 9% said that disadvantaged people and communities were a top-three priority. Just 5% of the public thought that charities and voluntary organisations were a top-three priority, a fraction of those that thought that businesses were a priority.

Following a strong youth vote in the last election, the poll also found that that young people in particular were more likely to say that not enough focus was being given to supporting charities to help good causes (43%), compared with those 65+ (19%).

Speaking about the poll, Andrew O’Brien, Head of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group said:

“This poll clearly shows that the public sees the government as very focused on delivering a Brexit that works for business rather than looking at how Brexit can deliver a more socially-just society.

“A socially-just Brexit which ensures that disadvantaged groups are not left behind is just as important as delivering one that works for the economy. This is also important for social cohesion. Given that a high number of Leave voters were found in lower socio-economic groups, they will be expecting a Brexit that delivers for them.

“Charities and social enterprises are central to delivering a socially-just Brexit as they are working to support these groups and build a better society. The next government must negotiate a deal using new-found powers to free up resources through improving the tax system for charities and social enterprises, while reforming state aid so we can give more support to areas that need it.

“Moreover our poll shows that young people in particular are twice as likely to say that too much focus is being given to large businesses than charities and social enterprises. If politicians want to reach out and deliver a Brexit which appeals to young people, they should consider how they can do more to support charities and social enterprises which are delivering public benefit rather than just focusing on business.

“All parties should commit to working with charities and social enterprises to delivering a socially-just Brexit, not just one that works for the wealth.”


  • Please contact Andrew O’Brien (07889 129971) for more information.
  • Charity Finance Group (CFG) is the charity that champions best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector. With nearly 1,500 members, managing over £21bn, it is uniquely placed to challenge regulation which threatens the effective use of charity funds. For more information, please see
  • Full data tables can be found here:
  • The poll by ComRes, carried out between 31 May and 1 June 2017, interviewed 2,083 British adults online. Data was weighted to be representative of all British adults aged 18+.
  • ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules ( This commits ComRes to the highest standards of transparency.
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