Latest British Social Attitudes survey released

This year’s British Social Attitudes survey reveals the British public to be an inconsistent and contrary nation. Despite increasing tolerance in some areas, some members of the British public can still be selfish, sexist, prejudiced and uncaring about the poor. Unfortunately the survey is only available to buy but some of the key findings can be found in this Independent article. As a nation, we have become more liberal in our attitudes to sex, gender, family structures and the environment. However when it comes to matching words with actions, particularly in relation to climate change, the figures drop.

Worrying it seems that attitudes to poverty have not improved since the days of Thatcher. More than a quarter think poor people are poor because they are lazy or lack willpower, compared to less than a fifth in 1986. Those who believe the Government should redistribute income has dropped to 34% compared with 47 % in 1995. This article by IPPR examines some of the reasons for these disparities in wealth and explores whether the government’s ability to tackle poverty is constrained by a sceptical public or whether they are using perceived public attitudes to justify a cautious approach. The article goes on to suggest some steps that both the government and groups that campaign to reduce poverty can do to engage the public more strategically with their aims.

VCOs may not always think that changing social attitudes might have an impact on the services they deliver but it is important for VCOs to consider the ways in which their users’ attitudes are changing to a diverse population and the impact this may have on the way they deliver their services. For more on how changing public attitudes can affect the VCS see this year's Voluntary Sector Strategic Analysis. We are also currently writing the fifth in our series of Future Focus guides which will explore how changing attitudes to poverty, the welfare state, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender and different generations will affect the VCS. Look out for it!

Last updated at 13:20 Thu 27/Jan/11.
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