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Call for more spending on public services

The public want the Government to spend more on public services, even if this means higher taxes, a new report shows.

The 2011 British Social Attitudes survey demonstrates the shift in attitudes, with 36% of the public supporting more investment in public services. The percentage had been falling for the last decade, indicating a shift in public attitudes that may now be at odds with Government direction.

In contrast to public opinion, Chancellor George Osborne is committed to a programme of austerity to cut the deficit. Spending cuts are expected to continue for the next few years, despite a majority – 55% – wanting spending to stay at the present level.

The survey also demonstrated a changing attitude towards welfare, with 54% agreeing that if benefits were less generous, people would stand on their own two feet, up from 26% just two years ago.

In 1991, 58% wanted more spending on welfare benefits. That had fallen to 35% when the recession began in 2008 and is now at 28%.

NatCen Social Research, which carried out the work, told the Financial Times it is “just possible that this shift marks the start of a reaction against the coalition’s spending cuts and a growing acceptance of the claims repeatedly made by Labour that the Government has been cutting ‘too far and too fast’”.

The report is at:

In the separate Transatlantic Trends survey of opinion in the US and 14 European nations, the UK was the only country where more people wanted public spending increased (29%) than decreased (26%). 38% spending should be kept at the current level.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. M Holland


Bonkers!   18/09/2012 at 14:00

It's about time this Government admitted that they have got it wrong and do a U-Turn. The economy needs stimulating, not suppressing further, Wake up Osborne and listen to the Public viewpoint!

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