Frances Ball 22 Oct 2019 12:13pm

UK public supports more spending on climate change

The UK public would support stronger government intervention to tackle climate change, Deloitte has found

A majority in the country want to see greater spending on public services even if taxes would rise as a result, a report by Deloitte and think tank Reform, titled The State of the State 2019-2020, has revealed.

It found that concern about the environment has increased for much of the UK public, and many would support “firmer” government intervention to tackle climate change.

There has been a sharp increase this year of the number of people concerned about the environment. Where 37% of people in 2018 feared that the environment would get worse, more than half the public now feel the same.

Jayson Hadley, head of government and public services consulting at Deloitte, said, “This report is published against a backdrop of fast-moving politics but it casts a spotlight on the long-term domestic issues that matter most to people in the UK. People clearly want to be reassured that public services are getting the investment they need, and the longstanding issues of social care and housing appear to be seen as needing attention.

“It’s also striking that concerns over climate change have increased and the public wants the government to act – but the good news is that the UK is already leading the way on its environmental commitments”, he added.

Support for various government interventions was high, particularly over subsidies for public transport as a more eco-friendly transport option – which 69% of respondents agreed with.

More than half, at 58%, support higher taxes on environmentally damaging products, while 65% felt that the government should do more to ban them outright.

The balance of public attitude toward tax and spending has also shifted in the last 10 years.

In 2009, 46% agreed that the government should spend more on services even if it meant taxes would go up. This survey shows that 58% now support better investment, even for higher tax bills.

The NHS, education, and policing are still the top three priorities for the public. Still, both housing and social care for the elderly are issues that more people are concerned about now than in the past.

Charlotte Pickles, director at Reform, said, “The public are pessimistic that public services will improve in the coming years, and there is rising concern about the crises in social care and housing.

“People want government to act and are prepared to pay more in tax to fund better provision. As we head towards an election, parties need to put forward a positive post-austerity vision for Britain – and one that includes a sustainable solution for social care”, she added.