The 29th British Social Attitudes survey has thrown up some interesting results on how people reacting are reacting to the current extended period of recession and austerity.
In previous economic downturns, the public has responded with increased sympathy for welfare recipients and support for spending on welfare benefits.
However, this year’s survey finds that this is no longer the case, and public attitudes towards welfare and unemployment are hardening. Some key findings:
- In 2001 88% agreed that government should be mainly responsible for ensuring unemployed people have enough to live on; 59% think this now.
- In 2001 43% thought that the government should spend more on welfare benefits for the poor, even if it leads to higher taxes, compared to 32% in 2007 and 28% now.
- In 1991, 26% agreed that, if benefits were less generous, people would stand on their own two feet…
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