A poll has recorded its highest ever level of concern among voters about Brexit as Article 50 looms.
Ipsos Mori’s poll for the Economist Issues Index in February found 45% named the EU as among the biggest issues facing the country, 4% more than in the same poll for January and the highest the survey has ever recorded since it began September 1974.
The concern coincides with parliament voting on a Bill to allow Theresa May to trigger Article 50, the formal process of leaving the EU, which she has vowed to do by the end of March.
Brexit was, by a big margin, people’s most popular answer when asked to name the single biggest issue facing the country, with 29% saying it, compared with 18% saying the NHS.
The poll also showed city-dwellers were less concerned about Brexit, while richer people were far more likely to concerned than the poor.
People in the north of England were the least concerned about Brexit while those in the south were the most concerned.
Concern with the economy has fallen to a nine-year low, with just 19% seeing it as a big issue, the lowest since February 2008, before the financial crash.
People aged 18 to 34 in the higher socio-economic groups - ABC1 - were the only ones more concerned about Brexit than the NHS.
More than half - 52% - picked the NHS as one of the biggest issues facing the country - the highest level of concern since June 2002.
Despite the NHS being traditionally seen as an issue Labour is more trusted on, the poll showed concern about it was higher among Tory supporters than Labour supporters - 62% and 52% respectively.
Conservative Party supporters were also more likely to be concerned about the other two of the top three issues overall – EU/Brexit (50% compared with 43%) and immigration (38% compared with 23%).
Labour supporters were more likely to see poverty, unemployment and housing as big issues facing the country.