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COMRES / ITV NEWS POLL: THREE QUARTERS OF BRITONS BELIEVE ECONOMIC INEQUALITY IS WIDENING

 

On the day the Office for National Statistics announced that the UK economy grew last year at its fastest pace since 2007, the latest News Index poll conducted by ComRes for ITV News reveals that three quarters (74%) of the British public agree that in the current economic situation, the gap in wealth between rich and poor is widening. Only one in ten Brits (10%) disagree.

Continuing the theme of rising inequality, three in five (61%) believe that so far, economic growth has only really benefitted wealthy individuals, while one in five (18%) disagree.

A record percentage of the British public (40%) say that the state of the UK economy has got better in the past three months - the highest figure to date since the question was first asked when the Index began in October 2010.

In a continuation of recent trends, people from higher social grades are more likely than those from lower social grades to say that the economy is improving. Half (51%) of Britons from the AB social grades say that the UK economy has got better in the past three months, compared to three in ten (31%) DE Britons. Older Britons aged 65+ (57%) are the most likely to say the economy has improved, compared with 32% of 18-44 year olds who say the same. Men (48%) are more likely than women (34%) to agree that the UK economy has improved in the past three months.

There is a degree of optimism moving forward, with three in ten (31%) British adults agreeing that they are confident that if the UK economy grows they will be personally better off, despite 38% disagreeing. However, only one in ten (11%) agree that they have benefitted from the growth in the UK economy over the past six months and seven in ten (71%) disagree.

The British public are also more likely to believe that the Coalition Government understands the concerns of banks and big business (69%) more than small business and entrepreneurs (32%) or families (23%). The Conservatives seem to be getting little credit for the economic recovery - only 9% of Britons agree that George Osborne has made their family better off financially and two thirds (67%) disagree. Meanwhile people are twice as likely to think that that the Chancellor should not rightfully take credit for the UK’s economic recovery (46%) than to think that he should (22%).

This is supported by the fact that 46% of British adults disagree that the Conservatives are genuine when they say they want everyone to benefit from economic growth. Only one third (32%) agree. By contrast 37% of the British public agree that if the Labour Party were in Government, economic growth would be weaker than it is now, with one quarter (26%) disagreeing.