Household Survey: Scots unhappy with poor services and climate change

Scotland map Image copyright Getty Images

Satisfaction with Scotland's schools, healthcare and public transport has hit a record low, while concern about climate change reached a record high.

The figures are contained in the latest Scottish Household Survey, based on responses from 10,500 householders.

Just 51.7% of Scots said they were satisfied with all three public services - the lowest level since 2007.

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (65%) of adults described climate change as an "immediate and urgent problem".

The Scottish government has conducted the annual survey since 1999 to measure public opinion about life in Scotland.

It found that combined satisfaction with schools, public transport and health services dropped 0.2% in 2018 to 51.7% and down from a peak of 66% in 2011.

While satisfaction with local schools rose 1% to 71%, there was growing unhappiness with public transport - down 4% on last year to 65% - along with a 1% drop in satisfaction with local health services.

Image copyright SHS
Image caption Combined satisfaction rates for local services dropped to it's lowest level since the survey began in 2007

In addition to public service satisfaction, the report also found a large increase in the number of Scottish residents concerned about climate change.

About 65% agreed that a climate emergency was looming, up from 46% five years ago.

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Image caption Eighty-seven percent of Scottish households have access to the internet

The largest increase in concern was seen among the 16-24 age group, increasing from 38% in 2013 to 67% in 2018.

Survey highlights:


  • 28% of those living in Scotland are aged below 25, while 25% of the population is over the age of 60
  • Women account for 51.2% of the population - Men - 48.6% - 0.1% identified in another way
  • More than a third of Scots live alone
  • There were 2.48m households in Scotland in 2018 - up from 2.19m in 1999


  • 49% of adults (16-64) are employed full-time
  • Over half of households earn less than £25,000 a year
  • Around one in four earn £40,000+ a year


  • One in 12 said they have experienced discrimination
  • Groups most likely to face abuse are ethnic minorities, LGBT, non Christian
  • Nationality is cited as the most common cause of discrimination


  • 87% of households have internet access
  • one in eight adults do not use the internet at all
  • 36% of users said security concerns made them less likely to share personal information online

For the first time, the survey also included questions on childcare, with 86% of respondents saying they were either very satisfied or fairly satisfied with the overall quality of funded care they received.

The majority of households (61%) did not report any problems with the funded childcare they received.

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Image caption The majority of households did not report any problems with the funded childcare they received

However, some families reported issues including that there were not enough funded hours to meet their childcare needs (20%); the lack of provision during school holidays (19%); and the lack of flexibility in the times or days offered (13%).

'Rip-off fare rise'

Responding to the findings, Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said: "This survey shows that parents are ready to benefit from the Scottish government's £2bn investment in the expansion of early learning and childcare, with the increase in flexibility and choice that this will bring, including options like year-round provision.

"We want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up and that means that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should be given the opportunity to realise their full potential so it is great to see parents are satisfied with their early learning and childcare."

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Image caption Labour accused the SNP of mismanaging public transport

Scottish Labour's transport spokesman Colin Smyth said public transport was being "mismanaged" by the SNP and pledged Labour would "transform" it.

He said: "Rail commuters have had to endure a rip-off fare rise whilst their services have been routinely delayed, overcrowded or cancelled.

"Meanwhile, those who rely on buses have had routes cut and fares soar in recent years."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "People are rightly unimpressed by the SNP's handling of their schools, health and transport services. Satisfaction has nosedived."

He called for "transformational investment" and said the SNP's priority "will always be independence".

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