Public support for a series of radical policies has surged as the economy begins to come under strain during the coronavirus pandemic, new research has revealed this week.
In an extensive April survey, polling company YouGov discovered that a majority of people in Britain support the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI) to ensure financial security, a jobs guarantee for stable employment, and rent controls to limit the cost of housing.
Perhaps most notably, the study showed support for the radical expansion of state support measures among Conservative and Labour Party supporters.
A @YouGov poll from this month shows that large majorities of British people now support policies that prioritise wellbeing above the creation of profit for a select few:— The Equality Trust (@equalitytrust) April 27, 2020
> Permanent rent controls: 74%
> Job guarantee: 72%
> Universal basic income: 51%https://t.co/dfzw6DL4FG
The poll also shows that a massive 81% of Brits do not think that the government was adequately prepared for the coronavirus outbreak, while 61% of those surveyed said they were not ready to deal with climate change.
Last week, the new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accepted that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic had "confirmed that the current social security system isn’t fit for purpose" but rejected the idea of proposing a UBI.
“We agree that the Covid crisis has confirmed that the current social security system isn’t fit for purpose", a spokesman for the Labour leader said.
The ruling coalition in Spain, led by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and supported by Podemos, became the first European government to roll out a full UBI program, as of the beginning of April.
Spain's Minister for Economic Affairs, Nadia Calvino, suggested that the UBI could remain in place even after the coronavirus pandemic has passed, saying that it could stay "forever" as a "structural instrument, a permanent instrument”.
The YouGov survey demonstrates a drastic shift in the attitude of the British public as the coronavirus begins to place serious strain on jobs and the economy.
As economic forecasts look increasingly bleak and workers have been placed on furlough schemes or made unemployed entirely, the Conservative government has embarked on unprecedented levels of public spending and state support state-support for families and businesses.
Polling has also consistently found majority support for policies involving state-ownership of key services including railways, mail, social care, and utilities such as energy, with pro-nationalisation sentiment rising in recent years.
Public ownership is popular.— Anthony B. Masters (@anthonybmasters) August 24, 2019
The survey estimates given below differ by question wording, response options, fieldwork dates, and research company.
YouGov, May-17: https://t.co/7AME9WxKUq
Populus, Aug-17: https://t.co/LayZMDMJz1 https://t.co/uNrC74C2pP pic.twitter.com/R4cE5o6Onk
Despite failing to win power, it appears that the radical economic agenda championed by Jeremy Corbyn is increasingly both a relevant and realistic scenario for Britain.