Londoners’ Views on Brexit


From the bubonic plague to the Blitz, London has long proved itself a resilient city, able to rebuild, to adapt, and to come back stronger.

More recently, the capital recovered strongly from the 2007/8 financial crisis. And so while Londoners clearly expect Brexit to bring challenges, particularly in the short term, they view it with combination of optimism and pragmatism in the long-term, expecting London to maintain its position as a leading global city, but placing a premium on continuing access to the Single Market.

Ahead of the London Conference 2016, Centre for London commissioned ComRes to poll Londoners on their expectations for the capital post-Brexit.

This short report builds on Centre for London’s other work on London’s place in the world; Continental Capital: London’s Links with Europe, published prior to the vote to leave the EU, gave a snap shot of how intricately London and the EU are intertwined, in terms of population, workforce, academia, trade and travel; and Strange Days: London After the EU Referendum, offered an overview of the challenges facing London in the wake of Brexit, and set out possible responses.

This paper summarises and analyses our survey findings, looking at Brexit’s impact on London’s economy, its relationships with the rest of the UK, and its future prospects, and at how these views vary between different groups of Londoners.

Key Findings

  • Young Londoners are much more pessimistic about the impact of Brexit than their older counterparts. For example, seven in ten (68 per cent) 18-24 year-olds expect Brexit to have a negative impact on London’s economic growth in the short term, compared with two in five (40 per cent) of those aged 65 and above.
  • 59 per cent of Londoners think that the Government should prioritise maintaining access to the Single Market in order to have free trade with the EU, while 29 per cent think that the Government should prioritise ending the freedom of movement in order to reduce immigration from the EU.
  • One in three (34 per cent) Londoners think that central Government has London’s best interest at heart.
  • Half (51 per cent) of Londoners believe that the EU referendum has had a negative impact on social cohesion in London.
  • 58 per cent of Londoners think that London will still be one of the top global capitals in 10 years’ time.