The economy remains the most important issue facing Britain, with concern highest in rural areas.
- Concern about unemployment is higher amongst the young
The February Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows that concern about the economy is unchanged from January; three fifths (60%) say it is one of the most important issues facing Britain.
With an increase in the total number of unemployed by 44,000 in the three months leading up to December, the second highest issue of concern is unemployment (28%). Indeed, with a youth unemployment rate of 20.5%, the highest since records began, it is perhaps not surprising that it is the youngest members of the public who are most concerned; 34% of those aged between 18-24 are concerned about unemployment, compared with 30% of older people of working age (25-54 year olds).
A quarter (25%) of the public are concerned about race relations/immigration, and a similar proportion (23%) are concerned with crime/law and order.
Perhaps due to the repercussions of the VAT rise, concern about prices/inflation remains at a two year high, with 16% citing this issue as amongst the most important.
There are some clear differences between rural and urban areas. Those in urban areas are more likely to be concerned about issues such as unemployment, crime, housing, and inflation/prices, compared with those who live in more rural areas who are more likely to be concerned about the economy, and education.
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 978 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 4th-10th February 2011 at 162 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.