The challenges facing Britain
What matters most to the public?

What challenges matters most to people in Britain today?

Over the last three years, we decided to find out.

We’ve listening to thousands of you up and down the country.

In discussion groups, on online video calls and in national polls.

So what do we all agree on?

Well, one topic consistently comes out top: health and care.

Unsurprisingly, keeping Coronavirus under control comes a close second.

People are also worried about struggling to afford the basics.

But some issues still divide us.

Like how best to approach immigration.

Certain things worry younger generations more than older ones.

Like mental health. And the state of the environment.

Take a look at what people said across the country.

Britain’s top five challenges

1. 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.”


2. 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 returns 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.


3. Struggling to afford the basics

Worries about others struggling to afford the basics have 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

4. 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.


5. 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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