Monday, 11 February 2013

Polling Shows Scots Have Least Faith in Westminster Welfare System


Analysis of the polling underpinning a new report on welfare has shown that people in Scotland are the least likely to have faith in the abilities of the current Westminster welfare system to protect them in difficult times.

The report from the Policy Network and Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) examines people’s attitudes towards welfare in the UK, France and Denmark and compares attitudes to reform.

A breakdown of the polling data shows that people in Scotland were significantly less likely to believe the welfare system offers sufficient protection for people who face the prospect of becoming unemployed, being evicted, getting sick or retiring from work.

The report also makes clear that “spending cuts in the UK, for instance, have disproportionately affected the young and the poor – precisely those groups that vote with least frequency, while universal benefits for the elderly have been protected."

The Scottish Government recently established an expert group charged with advising on how a fairer welfare system can reflect and uphold the values of people in an independent Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart – who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee - said:

“This poll makes crystal clear that people in Scotland simply do not have faith in the current Westminster operated welfare system.

“People in Scotland are significantly less likely than those in the rest of the UK to believe that the current welfare system provides adequate protection when people need it most.

“As this report highlights, Westminster’s spending cuts have disproportionately affected the young and the poor, despite the Scottish Government’s best efforts to mitigate the worst of the damage with the powers we currently have.

“Why does the Westminster Government wrongly persist in believing that these are the groups who should bear the brunt of their austerity agenda? It is scarcely any wonder that this polling shows people in Scotland simply do not have faith in Westminster’s system.

“Instead of people in Scotland being forced to rely upon a Westminster welfare system that is being aggressively cut back and failing thousands people who need support, we need a system that truly reflect Scotland’s values.

“With the powers of an independent Scotland we can build that kind of system and ensure that the priorities of people in Scotland are truly reflected in our welfare system.

“It is only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum that will secure that opportunity for Scotland and restore people’s faith that they will receive the support they need from the rest of society when they are facing difficult times."

A copy of the recently published Policy Network/IPPR report can be viewed at http://www.ippr.org/

The YouGov poll of 1,751 people across the UK commissioned for the Policy Network/IPPR report asked the following questions and can be viewed at http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/:

For which, if any, of the following situations or events
do you think the current welfare system
does or does not offer people sufficient protection?

ATTITUDES TO WESTMINSTER RESPONSIBILITIES in the UK London Rest of South Midlands/ Wales North  in Scotland

Becoming unemployed:






Does offer sufficient protection   49 54 54 49 43 42
Does not offer sufficient protection 51 46 46 51 57 58
Having a house repossessed or being evicted from the house:





Does offer sufficient protection 37 35 40 42 34 31
Does not offer sufficient protection 63 65 60 58 66 69
Getting sick or becoming disabled:





Does offer sufficient protection 46 49 49 47 44 35
Does not offer sufficient protection 54 51 51 53 56 65
Retiring from work:





Does offer sufficient protection 42 41 49 43 35 34
Does not offer sufficient protection 58 59 51 57 65 66
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