NEWS19 June 2019

British mood bleak ahead of Brexit

Brexit News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – The majority of the British public think the UK’s political system is unfit for purpose, against a mood of general pessimism about the country as a whole, according to a survey by BritainThinks.

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There is considerable pessimism about the UK at a national level, according to the ‘Mood of the Nation’ research, although there is more positivity about people’s local areas and their own lives.

Over half ( 58%) of those surveyed were pessimistic about the UK – with a fifth ( 21%) ‘very pessimistic’, while 61% were optimistic about their local area and 74% were optimistic about their personal lives.

Brexit is still a driver of negativity, with 65% of the public pessimistic about its outcome – including 50% of leavers surveyed in the research.

The survey, conducted two weeks after Theresa May announced her resignation, highlighted considerable disdain for government and politics – almost three-quarters ( 74%) agreed with the statement ‘the UK political system is currently not fit for purpose’.

There was also a sense that politicians do not stand for the public, with only 6% agreeing that ‘UK politicians understand people like me’ (while 72% disagreed). 

One of the biggest concerns is the level of division in society, with 72% expecting this to worsen in the coming year, while 72% agreed that ‘British values (e.g. respect, freedom of speech, manners) are in decline’ – this was far higher among those aged over 65 ( 82%, compared to 54% of people aged 18 to 24 ).

Respondents were also pessimistic about the economy, poverty, the NHS and the environment.

BritainThinks conducted the nationally representative online survey of 2,017 GB adults aged between 7th and 10th June. The agency also held four focus groups in London and Leicester to gauge the national mood, split by optimism levels, age, socio-economic group and voting history.