Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The end of Thatcherism?

The British Social Attitudes survey suggests that political culture is changing. Only time will tell if the changes are significant.

British Social Attitudes Report finds softening attitudes to benefits
The annual British Social Attitudes Report - which questioned more than 3,000 people for more than an hour - found 51% said benefits were too high in 2012, down from 62% in 2011.

The survey also showed a fall in support for Scottish independence, from 30% in 2006 to 23% in 2012…

The British Social Attitudes Report has been running for 30 years…

The proportion of people found to be supportive of extra spending on benefits rose to 34% in 2012, compared with 28% in 2011.

Other the key findings include:
  • For the first time in 30 years, more people said they were interested in politics…
  • Some 18% said they trusted the government to regularly place the country's needs above their own party's interests, compared with 38% in 1987
  • The reputation of the monarchy has been enhanced recently…
  • The survey suggests that Britain has become significantly more tolerant of same-sex relationships…
  • Nine out of 10 people trusted banks when the survey began in 1983 - that has fallen to just two out of 10
The report's authors wrote that their data indicated that "austerity and the experience of cuts to social security may be changing public attitudes towards a more sympathetic view of benefit claimants".

But Ms Park stressed it was clear the public was "very divided in their views".

"It remains to be seen what impact the coalition government's welfare reform agenda will have on public attitudes, and whether the small recent upturn in sympathy marks the beginning of a longer term trend," she said…

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