Broken Britain?

August 17, 2011, 10:08 PM GMT+0

Almost three quarters of British people believe that Britain as a whole is a ‘broken society’ whose ‘social problems are far more serious than they were ten or twenty years ago’, our poll has found, though only nearly two in five say they think the same of the area that they personally live in.

Londoners are most likely to think the place they live in is ‘broken’, with nearly half saying social problems in the capital are far more serious than they were ten or twenty years ago, compared to just over a quarter of those from Scotland who say the same about where they live.

In terms of ‘mending’ British society, more than two in five think current government policies on the economy will make ‘problems in society’ worse, while a similar amount believes that the Coalition’s policies on welfare benefits and law and order will intensify rather than help problems.

  • 74% of British people think that Britain as a whole is a ‘broken society whose social problems that are far more serious than they were ten or twenty years ago’, while just 17% say this is not true
  • In general, 37% of those surveyed think that ‘where they live is broken’, compared to 53% who say that isn’t the case
  • Londoners are most likely to think that ‘the area where they live is a broken society’ (47%) compared to people from Scotland (27%)

British opinion is split over where Britain stands in comparison to Europe.

  • 39% think that British society is in a similar state to other Western European countries, while 38% believe British society is more broken down than its foreign neighbours

‘Slow-motion moral collapse’

The poll comes as Britain reacts to nights of rioting across England last week, which saw shops and homes across the country looted, trashed, boarded up and burned. Commentators have hotly disagreed about the reasons behind the unrest, while the extent of the damage has sparked intense Government scrutiny of the perpetrators.

Prime Minister David Cameron has declared Britain’s ‘sick and broken society’ as top of his political agenda, and during a speech last week described the rioting as a ‘wake-up call’ to a ‘slow-motion moral collapse’ in parts of the country.

Cameron said: ‘In the banking crisis, with MPs' expenses, in the phone-hacking scandal, we have seen some of the worst cases of greed, irresponsibility and entitlement. The restoration of responsibility has to cut right across our society.’