The latest news from the Ipsos Mori issues index is that people are worrying far less about the economy than they have for over a year. The lowest score since last spring was recorded in September when the company asked people what the number one issue facing Britain today was. Economy scored 61% in August but that dipped to 54% in September as many more fringe issues picked up votes.
These included the NHS (+2%), Crime (+3%), Inflation (+2%), Education (+2%), Poverty (+2%) but most interesting Housing went up 3% compared to August and thus is at its highest point since the autumn of 2008. This is very interesting timing at Ed Balls will announce today that if he were in power he would use the money from the 4G auction to fund 100k new affordable homes across the country. These polling statistics hint that this will be warmly received across the country with the electorate.
However the Economy & Unemployment still dominate with 54% and 34% of people mentioning these issues when contacted by the research company. The economy hit a peak of 71% in June 2010 just after the General Election. This is no surprise as Greece was burning and a coalition had been formed just to fix the economy. Want to know the interesting tid-bit though? The last poll before the General Election only 55% of people were concerned about the economy. So that is a 16% leap in one month. Have the government scared people into undue concern about the economy?
This is an issue I have pondered for a long time. Look the economy is in a mess but if you keep saying how bad things are and keep mud-slinging then people are going to be scared to invest or buy products. If I drove would I buy a new car in this climate? I probably wouldn’t. I would be too scared that I have spent so much on a product only for it to lose 15-20% of its value just by driving it off the forecourt. Are people buying new TVs in this climate unless they really need to or are people waiting more for the sales? I have a few pennies in the bank and I want a tablet computer but I’m probably now going to wait for the iPad 4 in March as buying an Ipad 3 now would seem like a waste when an updated product is out in just six months.
Now of course I’m not your typical person as I’m known to not exactly throw my money around but people are being more cautious and rightly so. However are people being too cautious about saving for that metaphorical rainy day? I think they are and I lay the blame squarely at the feet of politicians. They need to stop saying how bad things are and start talking about how good things will be once the recovery has started. We need to hear more of what will happen and more of a plan of action apart from the rhetoric that we currently have which is ‘the sky is falling and its all your fault’ (which all the parties throw at each other).
Sometimes I really get pissed off at those in power who prefer to engage in the blame game than actually dealing with issues. I throw this at all parties. I like to know whose fault something was but I prefer to know the solution to the problem than who caused the problem in the first place. Surely that is the important issue? If this coalition government bring back strength, growth and trust in the economy then people are far more likely to care about who it was that screwed the economy over. People care about the plumber who fixes their heating, they don’t care as much about the plumber who failed to fix it properly the last time it broke.
I would like to address housing as well as this spike shows that there is a lack of affordable housing in this country. I am 29 and I live in rented accommodation. Due to the fact that I am self-employed it would be very hard for me to get a mortgage on anywhere in the area that I live so if I wanted to buy then I’d have to move. I think many people face similar issues and with the current state of banks not lending and a lack of building going on because no-one can afford to buy we are in a catch-22 and is a serious issue.
The problem with building affordable housing is will anyone to able to afford to buy them? At the moment because of the mortgage issue along with the economy people are being more hesitant to invest in bricks and mortar of their own. For me I’d love to buy but renting actually gives you a bit of freedom. If things go tits up in my work life then if I had a mortgage I’d be struggling to pay it because I’d have put down a hefty deposit. If I continue to rent then that money is in my bank instead of down on a deposit so is available to me to invest in rent or invest in other issues.
It is a hard one but affordable housing is vital not only to get people into their own homes but also to get a whole sector moving. I’m not surprised people are starting to talk more and more about it. Parents don’t want adult children living at home any more. They want them to fly the nest and set up on their own and start families (sorry mum – that bit isn’t happening) and be happy. Living at home whilst prudent doesn’t help starting families etc…
So all in all I am surprised fewer people are worried about the economy than any time since the spring of 2011 but I’m not shocked at all that housing worries are the highest that they have been since 2008. As for how the government are scaring us all about the economy. I don’t think scaring people into a recovery works. Change the rhetoric MPs. Please for the love of God change the rhetoric.
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