Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Stark north/south divide in attitudes to government cuts

As mentioned the other day, London seems to have so far been hit less hard by the recession than other regions. London and other southern regions may also be more resilient to the large public sector cuts being put into effect as their economies are less reliant on public sector employment. All of which help explain a fairly stark north/south divide in public attitudes to the cuts, revealed in today's YouGov poll. When asked whether 'the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the deficit' is good or bad for the economy, responses broke down as follows.

There was a similar but less sharp north/south gradient in response to questions about the fairness or unfairness of the cuts, and whether Labour or the coalition government were 'to blame'.

Perhaps it is not surprising if people in London are not quite as hostile to the cuts since fewer of them seem to be suffering economically, but there may be some important knock-on effects of this pattern. First of all there is going to be a Mayoral election next May, and how Londoners are feeling about the cuts is bound to have a great bearing on the outcome, so expect the candidates to be pushing their favoured narrative very hard. Secondly, you have to wonder whether the nation's mainstream media, overwhelmingly based as they are in London, are fully aware of the true depth of feeling regarding the cuts around the country.

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