Concern about Britain’s ageing population - including social care and pensions - increases this month, although still far behind other domestic issues
Concern about the NHS falls, following higher levels of concern in May and June
Fieldwork concluded shortly prior to the announcement of the closure of the News of the World, before the scandal may have begun to strongly register with the public
The July Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows that concern about Britain’s ageing population is gradually increasing among the public. Concern about our ageing society/ social care has more than doubled in the last two months, with one in twelve people now saying that it is among the most important issues facing Britain (8%). Fieldwork took place during coverage of the Dilnot Review on the future of social care.
Concern about pensions has also increased in recent months. One in ten thinks that ‘pensions/ social security/ benefits’ is important (10%), the highest concern about welfare we have recorded in 2011 so far. After the Comprehensive Spending Review last year concern reached similar levels, but prior to that the last time we recorded this level of concern was 2006.
The economy, however, remains at the top of the public’s list of priorities; over half of the public (57%) say it is among the most important issues facing Britain, an increase from June (51%).
Concern about unemployment also remains high, though fieldwork was conducted prior to the release of figures on Tuesday showing a fall of 26,000 in the number out of work. Three in ten (29%) are concerned about this issue.
A similar percentage (27%) is concerned about race relations/immigration and around a fifth (19%) are concerned about the NHS, a fall of seven percentage points since last month when NHS reforms were dominating headlines.
The vast majority of interviews were completed before the closure of News of the World was announced, when concern about the impact of the scandal had not yet registered among the public.
Technical note Ipsos MORI's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 962 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The questions are spontaneous - i.e. respondents are not prompted with any answers. Ipsos MORI's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 1st-7thJuly 2011 at 156 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.