Changing attitudes in the past six months
New polling from More in Common shows the cost of living is overwhelmingly the most important issue facing the country for most Britons. Almost two thirds of Britons (64 per cent) chose cost of living as a top issue, double the levels of importance for the next closest issue ‘Supporting the NHS’ (32 per cent).
Concerns about the cost of living have risen significantly since More in Common last asked the question in November. Back then, it was the third top issue (with only 36 per cent of Britons choosing) and only two of our seven segments putting it in their top three issues - now all seven segments see cost of living as the biggest issue facing the country.
There is widespread belief that government is not doing enough to help people deal with rising cost of living. In November, 58 per cent believed the government was doing ‘too little’ to help Britons with the rising cost of living – now 71 per cent hold that view. Don’t know responses have fallen from 16 to 7 per cent suggesting views are hardening and fewer Britons are willing to give the government the benefit of the doubt.
The public trust Labour much more than the Conservative to get a grip on the cost of living crisis. 59 per cent said they trusted Labour the most to tackle the rising cost of living, only 41 per cent said the same about the Conservatives. A quarter of 2019 Conservative voters trust the Labour party more with tackling the cost of living.
There is a broad sense that things are getting harder for most people. Those reporting that they feel ‘very comfortable financially’ has halved since November (from 13 per cent to 6 per cent), while those saying they feel ‘financially comfortable’ has decreased by 8 points in the same period (from 53 per cent to 45 per cent). At the other end of the scale, those saying they ‘often have to go without essentials like food and heating’ has nearly doubled in last six months since November going from 1 in 40 Britons to 1 in 20 Britons (a increase from 2.6 per cent to 5.0 per cent).
My partner's a store detective and he's catching more and more people with everyone trying to get away with stealing - probably partly to live. A couple of times, they've come up with such a story that he's ended up buying them a sandwich and a drink because he feels sorry for them
These feelings translate directly into the actions people are being forced to take deal with the rising cost of living in their own homes. In November, 29 per cent of Britons said they were cutting down on electricity usage – in April, almost one in two Britons (49 per cent) report cutting down on electricity. In November, 19 per cent of people were driving less to save fuel, now its 30 per cent. In November, 12 per cent were eating less to cope with rising costs, now 17 per cent are.
Across every single segment that we have been tracking for the last 6 months, public concern about cost of living has now risen to an all time high. This isn’t just something people are worried about in the abstract, people are rationing their electricity use, cutting back on driving and cancelling plans for a summer holiday. The public clearly want to see action from the Government now and won't accept being told they will have to wait until the autumn
All results are weighted using Iterative Proportional Fitting, or 'Raking'. The results are weighted by interlocking age & gender, region, and social grade to Nationally Representative Proportions
Fieldwork: 13th Apr - 21st Apr 2022,
Interview Method: Online Survey
Population represented: GB Adults
Sample size: 3140
Public First is a member of the BPC and abides by its rules. For more information, please contact the Public First polling team: email@example.com