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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Over half of Britons think economy won't improve yet, suggests Radio 5 Live poll

  • Two-thirds personally know someone who has lost their job
  • Three-quarters trying to spend less
  • Four in ten people worried about losing their own job
  • Young more positive than older people
  • Three-quarters less interested in money and possessions

Just over half (52%) of Britons think the economy will not improve for a while, around a third (34%) think the economy will get worse and just over one in ten (12%) think things are starting to improve, according to a poll commissioned by BBC Radio 5 Live.

The poll is part of a day-long look at the perceptions and realities of Britain's economy from across the UK on 5 Live today (Wednesday 15 July).

The perception of prospective personal fortunes is evenly split, according to the poll.

The percentage who expect their personal financial circumstances will improve over the next 12 months is the same as that of those who expect they will get worse, with 58% saying they expect their personal situation will stay the same. 

Only 12% of people aged 65+ expect an improvement at all compared with 36% of 18 to 24 year olds, the poll suggests.

When asked who to credit for any economic improvement, the coordinated actions of governments across the world has most credit (31%) followed by the British Government (21%).

When asked what they saw as the strongest indicator that that economy is recovering, the responses were as follows: spending more in the shops (70%), followed by house price rises (69%), share price rises (68%), availability of credit (63%), no longer worrying about losing my job (48%) and media reports that the economy is improving (46%).

Change to consumer habits

Shopping habits have changed as a result of the recession, according to the poll:

  • 75% "simply try to spend less"
  • 69% are "more aware of the price of things than I used to be"
  • 63% "buy less on impulse than I used to" (72% women, 54% men)
  • 47% think they are "better at budgeting than I was before the recession"
  • 46% "try to put more money aside into savings"
  • 51% are "less inclined to use a credit card or overdraft"
  • 20% "shop more online than I used to"
  • 73% are "more inclined now to think there's more to life than money and possessions"

However, the poll suggests people think Britain has changed only modestly as a result of the recession:

  • 76% think "people are more likely to live within their means" – the strongest expectation of change
  • But more people think the Government is not likely to rely less on borrowing to balance its books than think it is likely (50% to 45%)
  • 59% disagree that "people will be less greedy"
  • And 59% disagree that "people will be less worried about the impact of future recessions"

On job losses:

  • four in ten people are "worried about losing my job during the recession"
  • 67% "know someone personally who has lost their job during the recession"
  • 69% say "it would be very damaging financially to me or my household if I lost my job"

Notes to Editors

The day of national reporting on BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday 15 July will take a comprehensive look at the economy from across the UK.

ComRes telephoned a random sample of 1,048 adults across the UK.  Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults.  ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Full tables at


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