The October 2020 Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows public concern about Coronavirus remaining at a high level. Seventy-three per cent mention it as a major issue for Britain, down from 77 per cent in September. Fieldwork finished on 29 October, two days before the announcement of a second lockdown in England.
The proportion of the public who mention Brexit as a big issue has fallen to 45 per cent this month, from 51 per cent in September – however this remains almost twice the level of concern recorded in April this year (26%).
There has been a significant rise in the proportion who see poverty and inequality as a big issue for the country; 18% mention it as a concern, an increase of eight percentage points since September.
Concern about poverty and inequality has risen significantly this month, coinciding with the debate to extend provision of free school meals for low-income households over the half term school holidays. Some groups are particularly likely to mention this as a big issue:
- Younger people are more concerned: 31 per cent of 18-34 year olds mention poverty/inequality as a big issue for Britain, making it their third-largest issue behind Covid-19 (62%) and Brexit (35%).
- There is a significant political divide, with 27 per cent of Labour supporters seeing this as a major concern compared with nine per cent of Conservatives
- Public sector workers are also more likely to see poverty/inequality as a worry; 26 per cent mention it compared with 18 per cent of those working in the private sector
Other concerns are at historically low scores this month – most notably crime. Just three per cent of the British public mentioned crime as a major issue for Britain in October. This is a new lowest level of concern on this topic in nearly 50 years, since the Issues Index began in September 1974.