Challenges Facing Britain
What really matters to you?

Deciding what to tackle first

There are loads of difficult challenges for people in this country right now.

But what things are we all most worried about? Engage Britain has spent the past three years finding out. By listening to thousands of you up and down the country. In discussion groups, online video calls and through national polls.

One topic always comes out top. No matter our age, where we live, who we vote for or where we stand on Brexit. And that’s health and care.

With all of us living through this pandemic, it’s no surprise that keeping Coronavirus under control comes a close second in people’s priorities right now.

Our sense of community appears to be growing. We’re worried about people struggling to afford the basics. Matched by our wish for people to be able to get back to work as soon as possible.

But there are some issues that still divide us. Like how best to approach immigration. And among the younger generation, worries around mental health and the state of the environment are massively important – much more so than for older groups.

Want to find out more? Take a look at what people are saying across the country right now.

What are people’s biggest concerns right now?

Getting the right health and care support

The need for well-funded health and care – that we can access when we need it – is the nation’s top priority. It’s vital to our well-being, which is why 64% of us are in favour of a tax rise to support it further.

But care means more to us than simply referring to care homes or our social care system. It’s about positive change happening in our local communities among family, friends and neighbours. As one resident in the West Midlands explained, “[Covid] has bonded people as it’s something that affects everyone – it has brought people closer.”


Controlling Covid

Putting practical measures in place to control Coronavirus is a major priority for people across the country. Even more so for older generations. We understand how important it is that life return to some kind of new normal.

“Clear instructions, strict and strong rules that people must adhere to” is an opinion many share, with rising concern about the toll taken on the nation’s physical and mental well-being.


Struggling to afford the basics

In the past 12 months, worries about others struggling to afford the basics has shot up. Since the Spring lockdown, the job market has become even more unsettled and unpredictable. Being furloughed, made redundant or even losing your job is cause for immediate money worries.

“I’ve been living on my basic tax credit. It’s hit me hard financially. There are no jobs.”, explained one resident from the West Midlands. Even those lucky enough to have held on to work are finding working from home a challenge. Especially if having to juggle childcare or shielding a relative.

We’ve all seen with our own eyes how badly the pandemic is affecting independent shops and local high streets. People are worried if smaller businesses will be able to recover so want the government to lend a helping hand.


Struggling to afford the basics

Controlling immigration

People consider immigration to be the most divisive issue facing our country. Over three-quarters of us see it that way.

And this is not just about perceptions. In our online conversations, we identified the issues that most divide people into different groups. Responses on immigration proved to be the most powerful, helping identify “social liberal” and “social conservative” groups.

But even on a topic as divisive as immigration, there are still ways to reach across those divides. In discussion groups, there was widespread – though not uniform – support for us having greater control – whether that means controlling skilled immigration or making sure refugees get fair treatment.


Protecting the environment

From our 2018 poll, both young and old shared a growing concern about the environment.

So much so that people placed it above providing affordable housing as a key national priority.

And among young people, responding to the climate crisis is the single most important issue in their minds.


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