Magazine article Public Finance

British Public Do Not Accept the Need for Deep Cuts, Says Pollster

Magazine article Public Finance

British Public Do Not Accept the Need for Deep Cuts, Says Pollster

Article excerpt

The government faces a huge challenge In Its consultation over spending cuts, a leading public opinion expert told the CIPFA conference.

Bobby Duffy, managing director of lpsos Mori, said the British public was far more optimistic about the economy and the future of public services than It should be.

He revealed that almost four In ten people disagreed that there was a real need to cut government spending to plug the country's £156bn deficit, while 64% thought the hole In the public finances could be filled by efficiency savings alone. 'The public has a long way to go In their understanding of what is coming,' he said.

This sense of denial of the problem was reinforced by findings showing the public were more optimistic about the future of the UK economy than the Treasury - which has Itself been accused of producing forecasts that are too positive.

Duffy said the optimism came after an 'ungrateful' and 'depresslngly negative' attitude to increases in spending on public services in recent years. Some 60% of people thought public services had deteriorated since 2001. By 2007, before the recession hit, the same proportion said the UK was becoming worse to live Sn. This came despite tens of thousands more police officers, doctors and nurses, more schools being built and huge rises in the number of people going to university. …

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