Ipsos Issues Index: October 2022

Concern about the UK economy overtakes worries about inflation

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
  • Catriona Millar Ipsos Scotland
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  • Half of the public see the UK economy as a big issue for the country, up ten points from its score in September
  • Concern about inflation dips to less than four in ten, but it remains the second-biggest issue facing the country
  • Just six per cent mention Brexit as a big issue, the lowest score since December 2015

The October 2022 Ipsos Issues Index shows a sharp jump in concern about the UK economy, which has overtaken inflation as the biggest issue facing the country.

Fifty-one per cent of the British public see the UK economy as a big concern, an increase of ten percentage points since September, and the highest level of concern recorded about this topic since July 2013. Fieldwork was from 12 – 18 October, covering the period when Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked as Chancellor following a negative market reaction to his proposed changes to taxation and spending.

Inflation remains the second-biggest issue for Britain, mentioned by 38% (a decrease of 6 points since September). A quarter mention it as the single biggest issue facing the country (23%), down from 32% last month.

The NHS remains the third-biggest issue for the country, up two points to 22% this month. Concern about the health service has returned to the levels observed last winter, after dipping to just 13% in April.

There has been a significant rise in the proportion mentioning lack of faith in politics and politicians as a big issue for Britain, rising seven points to 16% this month. As noted above, fieldwork was from 12 – 18 October during the tenure of Liz Truss as Prime Minister.
Top ten for October 2022. The economy is top on 51%, followed by inflation on 38%

Although concern about the wider UK economy is higher than personal worries about inflation, this varies between different groups:

  • Men, people aged 35 and over, Londoners and those in social grades AB, C1 and C2 are among those more likely to see the economy as an issue than inflation
  • Women, people aged 18-34, and those in social grades DE are among those more likely to mention inflation than the economy

There is also a significant party political divide: while the economy is the top issue for Labour and Conservative supporters, who are equally likely to see the economy as a concern (both 53%), there is a 17-point difference on the level of worry about inflation (42% for Labour, 25% for Conservative).
Dashboard chart for economic concern

Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos, said:

This month we see the public focussing on threats to the wider UK economy over their own personal financial situation – although concern about inflation remains very high by recent historical standards. Fully half of the public see the economy as an issue, which is the highest score in almost 10 years.

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 1,014 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 12 and 18 October 2022 across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
  • Catriona Millar Ipsos Scotland