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Shoppers walking along a street in Kingston-Upon-Thames.

The people's economic priorities: public attitudes and Autumn Statement 2023

This short briefing assesses the decisions made by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement against what people are actually worried about.

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From 1-6 November 2023 we asked people how worried they were about different aspects of their lives that are influenced by the Government’s economic policies. These included the cost of essentials like food and energy, funding for public services, and their housing situation.

Key findings:

  • Two issues worried the public more than any other, by a large margin. 73% of people were very, or fairly, worried about reduced funding for national public services like the NHS, the police and education, and 73% were also very or fairly worried about the cost of essentials. This cut across demographics and political perspectives, with funding for national public services and the cost of essentials the biggest worries for both those intending to vote Labour and those intending to vote Conservative at the next election. People who were undecided about which way to vote were more worried about cuts to public services than any other issue.
  • The public was less concerned about high taxes. 49% of people were worried about the tax they pay on earnings from work and on the things they buy being too high – a significantly lower share than were concerned about national public services or the cost of essentials. In fact, more people were also worried about funding local public services or the cost of non-essential items than they were about taxes being too high.
  • People on low incomes were very concerned about the level of support provided by the social security system. After funding for public services (both national and local) and the cost of essentials, the fourth biggest worry for people in the bottom fifth of incomes was their income from benefits not being high enough.