The study by the Our Future, Our Choice group, which is campaigning for a fresh referendum, used the government’s own figures to calculate the total impact on income if the UK crashes out of the EU without an agreement.
The report paints a dark picture for the prospects of young people in post-Brexit Britain, predicting that 78% of 18-20 year olds will lose the right to live and work across the continent and citing polling evidence that 47% “cried or felt like crying” after the Brexit vote.
It looked at three different potential Brexit outcomes: a no deal Brexit on World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs; a free trade agreement (FTA) Brexit, a scenario based on the Canada’s links to the EU; or a European Economic Area (EEA) Brexit, an arrangement similar to Norway’s relationship with Brussels.
The report found that a WTO Brexit would cost a young person between £44,000 and £108,000 in terms of GDP by 2050; a FTA Brexit from £30,000 to £72,000; and EEA Brexit between £7,000 and £32,000.
In the foreword to the report, ex-Prime Minister Sir John Major, who backs the report, said: “Under every scenario that has been independently modelled – even by our own British Government – the UK will be poorer and weaker, and the poorest regions and the least well-off will suffer the most.”
All of the figures were based on statistics produced by the government from a ‘Cross Whitehall Briefing’, which was published in March.
Beyond loss of income, the report looked at every aspect of how Brexit could affect a young person’s life.
The status of Erasmus - the funding that pays for students to study in other EU countries - is in doubt, it argues.
Britain receives 7.2% of Erasmus funding, the fifth largest amount in the 28 member bloc. The funding was worth €147m in 2017.
The report was also endorsed by economist Will Hutton, who said: “This careful analysis shows just how badly young people -already disadvantaged by the breakdown of career structures and high housing costs - will be further hit by Brexit.
“They are surely right to protest in such numbers that their future is being profoundly compromised.”
Young people also face problems from Brexit around protections of rights at work as young people are disproportionately likely to work in temporary, agency, and zero-hours contract jobs.
Much of the legislation around key aspects of work, and especially temporary and agency work, come from EU directives. These include working time, pay, dismissal, discrimination in selection and working conditions.
According to the Trade Union Congress, 40% of people who have been in agency work for over a year are aged between 16 and 34.
Our Future Our Choice chief spokesperson Femi Oluwole said: “This report shows that young people will lose the most from any Brexit deal.
“We are a generation who don’t want to live with Brexit, yet it will cost us three times more than tuition fees, or double the average deposit needed for a house in lost wages and earnings.”