People think low earners asked to do too much, and the very rich too little, in response to the economic crisis
Three in ten British adults think people like them are being asked to do too much as a result of the government’s response to the economic crisis while seven in ten say the very rich are not doing enough, according to a new Ipsos MORI poll. Meanwhile, there is a clear distinction in views of low earners and welfare claimants.
Half (51%) of public say that low earners are being asked to do too much in shouldering the burden of the government’s response to the economic crisis (through taxes, or cuts in benefits or public services). Four in ten (42%) believe pensioners are doing too much.
In contrast, seven in ten (69%) Britons think that the very rich are being asked to do too little. And a third (34%) believe that welfare claimants are being asked to do too little (twice as many who think the same of low earners). Four in ten (43%) Conservative supporters think welfare claimants have done too little compared to 28% of Labour supporters and 26% of Liberal Democrats.
Though this may appear to challenge perceptions of being all in it together, half of the British public do think that people like them (52%) and the middle classes (50%) are being asked to do about the right amount.
Those who think “people like me” are being asked to do too much:
- 32% of those aged 18-54 compared to 25% aged 55+;
- 40% of lowest social grades (DE) compared to 24% of highest social grades (ABs);
- 41% of public sector workers compared to 31% of private sector workers.
A majority of the British public do not agree with the Chancellor’s plans, announced as part of the Autumn Statement last week, to increase working-age benefits including Job Seekers Allowance and Child Benefit by less than inflation. Six in ten Britons (59%) think benefit payments should rise in line with inflation and a further 10% think they should rise by more than inflation, although a quarter (27%) think they should rise by less than inflation or not at all. Overall:
- 11% think that benefits should not rise at all
- 16% agree with the Chancellor that they should rise by less than inflation
- 59% think that they should continue to rise in line with inflation
- 10% think they should rise above the rate of inflation.
Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said
“There are some real contrasts here – the very rich and welfare claimants are most likely to be viewed as being asked to do too little in response to the crisis, while low earners and pensioners are the groups most likely to be thought of as squeezed too much.Meanwhile, despite growing concern about the economy, half think they are being asked to shoulder about the right amount of burden – and yet we know people are more worried about the impact of the cuts yet to come.”
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,023 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 8 – 10 December 2012. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.