Government handling of unemployment hits lockdown low

Lukas PaleckisGraduate Researcher
October 23, 2020, 2:53 PM UTC

Majority of Brits also think the Government is doing a bad job when it comes to the economy

YouGov’s latest tracking data shows that the public has little faith in how the Government is handling unemployment, as the furlough scheme draws to a close. Less than a third of Brits (31%) say they are doing well, while 55% believe they are doing badly.

Approval of the Government when it comes to this key issue has gradually been falling since the start of lockdown and is now almost the opposite of levels seen back in March. At that time nearly half (47%) of Brits thought the Government were doing well at handling unemployment, compared to 32% who said badly. Now, the numbers are 31% well to 55% badly.

Those aged from 18 to 24 years old are significantly more likely to be critical of Government’s handling of the situation, with 70% saying they are doing a bad job when it comes to unemployment. 

A similar picture emerges around the Government’s economic policies. The majority of Brits (56%) think that the Government is handling the economy badly, while only 34% think it has handled it well. Again, public pessimism has grown over the course of lockdown. It is now a long way from peak approval back in March, when 52% thought the Government was handling the economy well. 

When asking Brits which political party would be best at handling unemployment, a third (33%) opt for Labour and just 24% the Conservatives. More people said Labour were best on this issue than the Conservatives for the first time this year in late June and the gap has continued to grow since then, correlating with a decrease in approval of the Government on the issue.

While this may be positive news for Keir Starmer, traditional party lines still hold true when it comes to the economy. Some 37% of Brits believe that the Conservative Party would still be the best at handling the economy, with a smaller portion of 21% choose Labour. The trend over the past few months for this issue has been a lot flatter, with similar proportions picking the Conservatives and Labour in each of our tracking polls since June.

See tracker results for unemployment here

See tracker results for the economy here