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Public concerned about cuts to council services, but councils aren't necessarily to blame

Published:30 January 2013
Fieldwork:12 - 14 January 2013
Source:Ipsos MORI / NLGN
Keywords:Council Services, Local Government, Politics/Political, Public Sector Cuts
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New research, conducted by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by localism thinktank NLGN, shows the public are more likely to blame govermment, not councils, for local cuts to services.

As councils head into the third year of an unprecedented programme of spending reductions, Ipsos MORI’s latest poll suggests that Westminster is taking the brunt of the blame for cuts in local services. Just over one in 10 voters blames councils for cuts to local services, while three in 10 hold the Coalition responsible and a further 25% believe the previous Labour government is responsible.

Interestingly the public are more likely to blame the Coalition Government for cuts to local council's services than they are to blame them for cuts to public services in general. 

Voters overwhelmingly say they trust local authorities to make decisions about the future of local services. Eight in 10 (79%) say they trust their local council to make the important decisions, compared to just one in 10 (11%) who trust the government to. Eight per cent do not trust either.

While most voters may not have yet noticed cuts to local services such as social care and refuse collection, the research suggests austerity is starting to bite for some. Around two in three (65%) agree with the statement “I haven’t really noticed any changes to the services provided by my local council”, but one in three (34%) disagrees.

Furthermore, the majority are worried about what is around the corner. Some 55% of voters say they are concerned about the impact of council service cuts on them and their families over the next 12 months. This is even higher amongst voters from poorer socio-economic backgrounds who are more likely to be dependent on the state for support.

The poll also shows that 48% of voters agree that cuts to council services have gone too far and could lead to social unrest. Voters who say they have already noticed changes to their local council services are even more likely to support this view.


Technical details

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,015 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 12 – 14 January 2013. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
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