Forty-five per cent of Britons say prices and inflation are a big issue for the country, an increase of five points since June and surpassing the recent highest level of concern of 41%, recorded in May this year.
Although still behind the levels recorded in the 1970s, this is the highest level of concern for this issue since the Issues Index became a regular monthly tracking survey in the early eighties (in April 1980 69% mentioned inflation as a big issue for Britain; in the next data point in September 1982, 32% said the same).
The other key issue for the public this month is the economy – a third mention this as a big concern (34%), an increase of four percentage points since June and up by nine points since the start of the year.
Worries over a lack of faith in politics and politicians have fallen by ten points this month, with 16% mentioning this as an issue. This is likely tied to the resignation of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister – fieldwork was conducted from 6 to 13 July, with Boris Johnson announcing his resignation on the 7th. While it remains the third biggest issue, similar proportions of the public are also worried about the NHS (15%), defence and poverty (both 14%).
Concern about unemployment has fallen to the lowest level recorded in the Index since it began in September 1974. Over 2022 concern about a lack of work has been polling in the low single figures, but this month just three per cent see it as a big issue for Britain.
Concern about inflation is high among all groups, however there is a clear age gradient, with younger Britons more likely to mention it: 53% of 18-34 year olds see it as a big issue, compared with 44% of 35-54 year olds and 39% of the over 55s. Older groups are instead more likely to mention the economy more broadly as a concern. Among those aged 55 and over, 38% see the economy as a big issue for Britain. This falls to 34% among 35-54 year olds and 29% among the 18-34s.
Additionally, those in more affluent households also more likely to mention inflation as a concern. Fifty-five per cent of those in households with incomes of £50,000 or more per year mention it as a big issue, compared with 48% of those in the £25,000 – £49,999 bracket and 37% of those in households earning less than £25,000 per year.
Mike Clemence, a senior consultant at Ipsos, said, “Public concern about inflation continues to increase, matching the rises we see in the official inflation rate. Now almost half of the public mention rising prices as one of the biggest issues for Britain, the highest level we’ve seen since the early eighties.
It is also worth noting that despite these price concerns very few are worried about unemployment. At just three per cent, the proportion of Britons who see joblessness as a concern is at the lowest level we have recorded since 1974.”