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Mon, 19 October 2020

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Majority of Brits think Government should keep prioritising health over economy in coronavirus response

Majority of Brits think Government should keep prioritising health over economy in coronavirus response

Brits still want the Government to focus on health over the economy (PA)

2 min read

The majority of Brits think the Government should keep prioritising people’s health over boosting the economy in their coronavirus response.

The new polling from Ipsos MORI comes amid calls to make further moves to ease the lockdown as the country slides into recession.

But just 11% of respondents said they thought ministers should focus on economic health, compared to 53% who wanted the priority to be the health of individuals.

The numbers are virtually identical to when the same question was asked in mid-March, before the lockdown began, according to the pollster.

They also found the majority of people think the UK's economy will recover from the Coronavirus crisis at the same rate or more quickly than other countries, despite the worst quarterly GDP figures since the 2008 financial crash.

But three in ten say they think Britain will recover more slowly, with 4% saying it will never recover. 

Keiran Pedley, Ipsos MORI’s research director, said: “These findings suggest it may be a challenge for the government to take public opinion with it as lockdown restrictions are eased. 

“Despite several weeks of lockdown, a majority of the public still insist the public health should be prioritised over economic health, with more restrictions rather than less if necessary. 

“It is striking that these numbers are virtually unchanged since mid-March. 

“Views may now shift as new rules are better understood but these findings just go to show how cautious the British public is at this stage.”

The findings comes after another study showed three-quarters of people are worried social distancing will not be followed as the lockdown is eased.

And nearly eight in ten are worried that Covid-19 infections will rise as people are allowed out of their homes more, according to the results published by University College London.

It is part of the UK’s largest survey on adult wellbeing and mental health during the pandemic with over 90,000 participants, and the findings for the period 4-10 May also shows economic concerns about recession and unemployment levels ranking highly. 

Lead author, Dr Daisy Fancourt, said: “Our findings show that concern about increasing cases of Covid-19 are consistent across all ages, but concern about hospitals becoming overwhelmed is higher in younger adults, while concern about people not adhering to social distancing is higher in older adults.

“Concerns about unemployment and recession are consistent across ages, but concern about crime rising is higher in older adults, while concern about pollution increasing and social cohesion decreasing is slightly higher in adults under the age of 30.”

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