Opinion of government handling of the pandemic has improved in most aspects since October

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
March 29, 2021, 1:34 PM UTC

Britons see the UK government’s handling of key areas of the pandemic as better over the last six months

One year on from the UK’s descent into lockdown at the hands of COVID-19, questions are being raised about how the pandemic has been managed, with the Labour party calling for a full inquiry later this year into the UK government’s handling of the crisis

However, the latest YouGov research shows that in the six months since October 2020, the British public’s perception of how the UK government is handling key areas of the pandemic has broadly improved.

The biggest shift comes in regards to how well the UK government is doing in ensuring people do not catch the virus, which has risen 31 points to 58% of people who now say the UK government is handling this well. This includes 80% of Conservative voters but only 40% of Labour voters. Half of Labour voters (54%) say the UK government is handling this badly. 

Elsewhere, 71% of people say the UK government is handling care for those who catch the virus well, compared to 41% who said the same in October – an increase of 30 percentage points. On this aspect, even a majority of Labour voters think the UK government is doing well (57%), as do the vast majority of Conservatives (87%).

Over half of people (59%) also say the UK government is doing well in working towards a long-term solution to the coronavirus, up from 35% in October, with 81% of Tory voters and two in five Labour voters (41%) in agreement.

Following the popular 2021 Budget, 47% of people now see the UK government as doing well in protecting the economy, a rise on 39% last year. Not all change since October has been positive however, with those believing the UK government is doing well at protecting jobs falling by four points to 52%.

Education also takes a hit, with 59% now thinking the UK government is doing well in ensuring children still receive good teaching, down seven points in six months.

The UK government’s greatest success is the vaccination rollout, which 86% of people think is being handled well – including 82% of Labour and 94% of Conservative voters. While the vaccine programme hadn’t begun by the time of the initial October study, this latest research reveals an increase of 25 percentage points since January when 61% thought the vaccine rollout was being handled well.

See full results here