The April 2021 Ipsos MORI Issues Index shows that, over a year into the pandemic, half of the British public see COVID-19 as a big issue for the country. This is the same level of concern as recorded last month, when the Index recorded the first significant drop in concern since the start of the outbreak.
The level of concern about a number of other issues has fallen, including the economy (at 30%, down from 36% last month) the NHS (down from 24% to 19%) and education (falling five points to 11%).
There has been a significant increase in the proportion mentioning climate change and the environment as a worry. Eighteen per cent mention this as an issue, up five percentage points since last month. This is the highest level of environmental concern recorded since the pandemic broke – the previous high score was 25%, reached in February 2020.
Race relations has also risen as a concern. It is mentioned by nine per cent of Britons as a big issue this month, up from five per cent in March.
Rising concern about the environment and climate change is being driven by specific demographic subgroups within the wider population:
- It is a big issue for almost three in ten of those in social grades AB (28%), double the level of concern among social grade C2DE (13%). However concern has risen among all groups since last month, when these scores were 17% and 8% respectively.
- Labour supporters are twice as likely to mention environmental concerns compared with Conservative party supporters (23% versus 12%)
- Those living in the south of England and Scotland are more likely to mention these issues than those in the Midlands and north of England