latest health care news

28.06.17

NatCen: Eight in 10 want more NHS spending – even if that means more taxes

Eight in 10 Britons think the government should spend ‘more’ or ‘much more’ on the NHS, even if that means hiking taxes, a nationwide survey has found – signalling a remarkable shift to the left on the economy since the financial crisis and the austerity that followed.

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) survey, which questioned almost 3,000 people, uncovered evidence that the general public is now expecting much more from the state, with “clear signs of increased support for a government that is more generous with its spending and a growing public willingness to pay for it”.

Also in the health vein, the British Social Attitudes survey found that people want to be able to make up their own minds on key issues like abortion and euthanasia, even amongst religious responders.

Overall, more people (48%) said they want larger taxes to finance greater levels of spending on health, alongside education and social benefits – the highest level for more than a decade, and the first time since 2006 that the proportion of people calling for more taxes surpassed those wanting to maintain existing levels (44%).

But despite the recent swing to the left, the public has still not reverted to its 1990s position, where six in 10 people favoured greater spending.

In terms of spending priorities, the NHS unsurprisingly topped the list: 83% of people think the government should spend more on health, while seven in 10 also prioritised education and six in 10 the police.

Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the NatCen, argued the results show people’s tolerance for austerity is “drying up”, even if that means paying higher taxes.

“This leftwards tilt on tax and spend is matched by a long-running conservatism on national security and law and order,” he said. “In all, people want a more active state that’s firm but fairer.” 

The survey report, which described the past seven years as “relative famine” in terms of government spending, added: “It appears that gradually the public are beginning to react against that experience as reflected in declining support for cutting expenditure as a way of helping the economy and some increase in support for spending on public services.”

NatCen’s research, which has been conducted every year since 1983, was carried out between June and December last year, interviewing a representative sample of 2,942 people.

The results come just a couple of days after the BMA discovered that public satisfaction rates with the NHS has plummeted, with more people unhappy with the service than happy for the first time ever, even compared to wintertime surveys.

The union warned that this was a direct result of the government wanting a “world-class NHS with a third-class settlement”, given that almost two-thirds of people were expecting the health service to get worse in the coming years – up from 39% in 2015. Seven in 10 also believed the NHS is heading in the wrong direction.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Calling the NHS a ‘Covid-only service’ is untrue, unfair and potentially dangerous

12/08/2020Calling the NHS a ‘Covid-only service’ is untrue, unfair and potentially dangerous

Chris Hopson, Chief Executive, NHS Providers Last week the NHS was widely described as providing a ‘Covid-19 only’ service for much of the last few months. Fr... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >