The economy and inflation return as the most mentioned important issues facing the country

40% of Britons say the economy is one of the biggest issues facing Britain while the proportion naming the NHS falls by 17 points according to the Ipsos Issues Index for February 2023.

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
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  • Forty per cent of Britons say the economy is one of the biggest issues for Britain, while 35% mention inflation and prices
  • The proportion mentioning the NHS as a big concern has fallen by seventeen points since January, however it remains the country’s third-biggest issue

The February 2023 Ipsos Issues Index shows economic concerns returning to the top of the most-mentioned issues for Britain, while concern about the NHS has fallen significantly since January.

Forty per cent of Britons say the economy is a big issue for Britain, a small increase on the level recorded in January (37%). Thirty-five per cent mention inflation and prices as one of the biggest issues facing the country, close to the level recorded in January (34%). These are also considered the single biggest issue for the country; a quarter (26%) say this about the economy and a fifth (21%) select inflation.

Concern about the NHS has fallen by seventeen percentage points compared with January, when it was the biggest issue for the country. Twenty-five per cent see the health service as a worry, down from 42% in January. However, it remains the third-biggest issue facing the country this month.

Lack of faith in politicians and politics is the fourth-biggest concern, rising three points since January to 14%. The proportion mentioning immigration as a big issue this month stands at 12%, down from 15% last month.

What do you see as the most/other important issues facing Britain today? Top mentions %  Economy 40% Inflation/Prices 35% NHS/Hospitals/Healthcare 25% Lack of faith in politics/politicians/government 14% Immigration/immigrants 12% Poverty/Inequality 11% Housing 11% Education/schools 10% Common Market/Brexit/ EU/Europe 9% Pollution/environment/climate change 9% Low pay/Minimum wage/ Fair wages 9%

Between them, concern about inflation and the economy are the top concerns for most groups in Britain. However there are differences in how each is perceived.

  • The economy is a bigger concern than inflation for men, older people (over 55), those from social grade ABC1 and Labour party supporters
  • The two issues are more similarly ranked by women, people aged 18-35, those from social grades C2DE and Conservative party supporters.

Concern about the economy and inflation by demographic group  Britain Economy 40% Inflation 35% Male Economy 42% Inflation 31% Female Economy 38% Inflation 40% 18-35 Economy 40% Inflation 41% 35-54 Economy 41% Inflation 37% 55+ Economy 39% Inflation 30% ABC1 Economy 44% Inflation 36% C2DE Economy 37% Inflation 35% CON Economy 43% Inflation 45% LAB Economy 45% Inflation 33%

Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos, said:

Public attention has shifted from healthcare back to the economy this month, with a sharp fall in the number mentioning the NHS as a big issue for Britain.
Immigration and concern about the behaviour of politicians complete the nations’ top five, although both these issues are a concern for comparatively few.

Technical note
Ipsos' Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants are not prompted with any answers.

Ipsos’ telephone omnibus was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted between 8 and 14 February 2023 across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs

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