One in three Britons say their household is likely to need financial support in next three months

Latest research shows a rapid change of views over the last four weeks, including large drops in public confidence in job security and the health of Britain’s economy.
22 April 2020
GB April 2020 Public Opinion
Luke Taylor

Head of Opinion Polling, Public Division, UK

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Our monthly public opinion and voting intentions research in Britain reveals some of the highest figures since our tracking started nearly a decade ago – including loss of confidence in job security and pessimism over the health of Britain’s economy now and in the future.

Findings from the research, which took place between 16 and 20 April, reveal a significant deterioration of opinions over the last four weeks:

  • One in three (33%) agree that their household is likely to require financial support from government within the next three months
  • Job insecurity is rising fast. Almost half of those working (44%) believe their job is less safe than it was 12 months ago. This is the highest recorded figure since our measurement began in August 2011 (and compares to 26% in March)
  • One in three (32%) said they are finding it harder to meet their monthly household budget than they were 12 months ago, a 5pt increase month on month
  • Expectations of government intervention in the economy are high, with very high levels of agreement (84% agree or strongly agree) that “it’s important the government helps people and business affected by coronavirus, whatever the cost”
  • Public confidence in the economy drops to lowest level since measurement began in August 2011, with two thirds of people (65%) stating that Britain’s economy is doing worse than 12 months ago, compared to 31% in March 2020. The previous high was 58% in December 2011
  • In an indication that the public expect Coronavirus to have a long-term impact, half of people (50%) think that the economy will be worse in 12 months, compared to 32% of people last month. This is also the highest figure since tracking started in August 11), previous high was 43% in September 2011.

Perception of the government and voting intentions

In terms of understanding the available government support, just over half (52%) are sure/think that there is “financial support available from the government for people like you to manage the effects of the coronavirus crisis”.

Six in ten people (61%, +14 compared to March research) think that the government are handling the coronavirus very/fairly well, with three in ten thinking they are handling it very/fairly poorly (30%, -3). 10% don’t know (-10).

Voting intentions:

  • Conservative 54% (+4 vs March 2020)
  • Labour 28% (-1)
  • Liberal Democrats 9% (-2)
  • SNP 4% (no change)
  • Green 4% (+2)
  • The Brexit Party 1% (nc)
  • Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)
  • UKIP <1% (-1)
  • Other <1% (nc)

These findings, along with the findings from our recent G7 citizen impact of coronavirus study, show that there is a growing majority who believe the government is handling the crisis well and a strong public belief that supporting people and business during this time should be a priority, no matter the cost.

However, increasing numbers reporting concerns over their ability to meet household budget, and one in three stating their household would require financial support in the coming months. Understanding the levels of support needed is crucial for government policy to be able to respond effectively.

This study, reflecting our research in the G7 nations, shows that personal economic impacts are deepening. Kantar’s Social Response and Recovery programmes are supporting policymakers around the world to respond to these challenges and develop policy to build for a resilient recovery.

*A representative sample of 1,171 adults in Great Britain were interviewed between the 5th and 9th March 2020. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion with Kantar online access panel as the main sample source. Full report can be found here.

Notes to Editors

Additional findings and methodology:

  • 41% (-3) of Britons would prefer a UK-EU trade deal to come into force after the transition period, compared to 20% (-2) who prefer that the UK exits under WTO terms with no EU trade deal. 39% (+5) ‘don’t know’.
  • 17% (+1) of Britons think that leaving the European Union will make it easier for the UK government to handle outbreaks like Coronavirus in the future. 27% (+10) think it will be more difficult. Majority of Britons don’t think that the UK leaving the EU will make it easier or more difficult for the UK government to handle outbreaks like Coronavirus in the future (41%).

Public view on negotiations with the European Union

  • Three in ten Britons (33%, +1) think that the UK government is handling the negotiations regarding the UK and EU’s future ‘well’; 34% (-8) of people think they are being handled ‘poorly’.
  • There is no clarity amongst the public about how the UK will exit the transition period with. 26% (-2) think it is most likely the UK will leave with a trade deal with EU; 26% (-3) think the UK will exit transition period under WTO terms with no EU trade deal; 48% (+6) ‘don’t know’.
  • If a new referendum was held on the UK’s membership of the European Union, 37% (nc) of Britons say they would vote to Remain, 36% (+2) say they would vote to Leave. 18% (-3) say they wouldn’t vote and 9% (+1) ‘don’t know’.

Methodological information

The survey data and further details on the methodological approach can be found here.

A total of 1,118 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 16th and 20th April 2020. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar Research Express Online Omnibus, which uses the Kantar online access panel as its sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender, working status, 2019 General Election voting patterns, 2016 EU referendum voting patterns, education, region, and likelihood to vote in the next General Election.

Any use of this research must cite Kantar as the source.

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