A majority of the public agree with so-called woke positions on points reminiscent of racial equality, immigration and sexual identity, in response to the most recent annual ballot of British social attitudes, within the newest signal that once-marginal liberal views are more and more mainstream.

Although such points are utilized by Conservative politicians and the media to gas “culture wars” and whip up antipathy in direction of a supposed politically right cultural elite, the survey exhibits the stability of public opinion in Britain has shifted in favour of extra inclusive attitudes over the previous 20 years.

These counsel a speedy and important shift in attitudes in Britain over latest a long time. “As a country we are as liberal as we have been at any point since this survey started in 1983,” mentioned the political scientist Sir John Curtice, a senior fellow on the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), which carries out the survey.


The survey’s different key findings point out public assist for elevated taxation and public spending, together with on social safety advantages, remained robust as Britain ready to endure a punishing price of dwelling disaster. Support for redistributing earnings from the wealthy to the much less well-off was at its highest ranges for practically 30 years.

The pro-tax and spending had been shared throughout the political divide, with 61% of Labour voters and 46% of Tory voters in settlement. Overall, 52% mentioned the federal government ought to increase taxes and make investments extra in well being, schooling and social advantages.


The public’s wholesome urge for food for state intervention, a legacy maybe of the perceived success of Covid assist measures, could counsel they are going to assist new prime minister Liz Truss’s £150bn price of dwelling assist package deal. However, her assist for tax cuts and disdain for redistributionary fiscal insurance policies could also be extra jarring.

“Our survey suggests the public faces the price of dwelling disaster with as a lot urge for food for elevated authorities spending because it had throughout the pandemic. Despite the marked enhance in public expenditure throughout the pandemic, assist for elevated taxation and spending is comparatively excessive, even amongst Conservative supporters, mentioned Gillian Prior, NatCen’s chief govt.

The survey additionally revealed the hanging diploma to which socially liberal views are much more prevalent in London. A 3rd of Londoners (34%) are socially liberal, in contrast with simply 19% of these in city areas exterior the capital. Sarah Butt, a analysis director at NatCen, mentioned: “London seems very totally different from the remaining of the nation.”


Culture battle rows have develop into more and more distinguished in recent times, starting from disagreements over Britain’s colonial legacy, as to whether strikes in direction of and racial, sexual and gender equality “have gone too far,” with anti-woke critics particularly concentrating on liberal establishments such because the BBC, universities and nationwide charities.

The survey requested a spread of questions round points of Britishness, nationwide satisfaction, the financial and cultural results of immigration, and attitudes over equal alternatives. Its findings included:

While most individuals had a robust sense of Britishness, greater than half (54%) agreed it was not essential to be born in Britain to be “truly British” – up from 25% in 2013. Similarly 34% agreed Britain is “a better country than most others”, down from 54% in 2013.

The proportion of folks stating that immigration was “bad for the economy” fell from 42% in 2011 to 20% in 2021. Those saying it was good rose from 21% to 50%. There had been related shifts in views on whether or not immigrants enriched or undermined Britain’s cultural life.

There was rising public assist for the proposition that equal rights “had not gone far enough” for black and Asian folks (45%, up from 25% in 2000). In distinction, the proportion who felt race equality had gone too far fell from 35% in 2000 to 19% in 2021. About a 3rd felt issues had been “about right.”.

73 % of folks thought rights for lesbians, homosexual males and bisexuals “had not gone far enough” or had been “about right”, in contrast with 62% who thought this in 2013.

About 64% of folks thought rights for transgender folks “had not gone far enough” or had been “about right” in contrast with 34% who believed that they had “gone too far”. The query had not been requested in earlier years.

There was an extra, and important fall within the proportion of the public who agreed transgender folks ought to have the ability to change the intercourse on their beginning certificates, from 58% in 2016 and 53% in 2019, to 32% in 2021. However, the survey mentioned the wording of the query had modified barely after 2019 to make it clearer it wished the public’s views on the recording of intercourse on the beginning certificates, quite than whether or not an individual ought to have the broader proper to alter gender.

“It could also be that some folks settle for that folks ought to have the ability to safe some kind of authorized recognition of their ‘acquired gender’ but additionally consider that this could not contain altering the intercourse that’s recorded on their beginning certificates.

“For probably the most half our indicators counsel that, whereas it’d as soon as have represented a widespread view, now the ‘anti-woke’ place on ‘culture war’ points typically seem like extra of a minority one,” the survey discovered.

The comparatively speedy change in views steered it was not simply generational, however that extra older folks had been turning into extra socially liberal.


Nonetheless, depart and stay supporters had been divided of their views on tradition battle points, the survey discovered. For instance, 65% of Brexit supporters mentioned it was essential to be born in Britain to be “fully British”, in contrast with 34% of remainers.

While pushing a tradition battle agenda could efficiently enthuse core Tory voters – and doubtlessly rekindle post-Brexit electoral divisions between remainers and leavers – that viewers seems to be diminishing, and there is no such thing as a assure that the anti-woke impact can be highly effective sufficient to win an election, the survey concludes.

Curtice mentioned: “Inevitably some people are uncomfortable with such change in society, and will quite reasonably look to politicians to express their concern. But we cannot assume the politicians who express that concern will find that their stance brings them electoral success.”

Other findings

Health service satisfaction down – however religion in NHS rules robust
Long ready instances for hospital and GP appointments and lack of authorities funding drove a dramatic decline in public satisfaction with the NHS in 2021. The 17-point year-on-year fall confirmed public satisfaction dropped to 36%, its lowest degree since 1997. However, 76% supported maintaining the NHS free on the level of supply. Rationing of companies and poor workers pay drove file public dissatisfaction in grownup social care companies (50%).

Support for change within the UK voting system?
There was majority public assist for the introduction of a proportional illustration system for voting MPs into the House of Commons for the primary time because the survey started in 1983. Just over half (51%) favoured reform, up from 27% in 2011). While a majority of Labour voters supported PR (61%) solely 29% of conservatives favoured electoral reform.

Increasing concern over the surroundings
Worries over the local weather disaster are rising, with 40% saying they had been “very concerned”, nearly double the proportion in 2010. More than half (57%) mentioned they had been prepared to pay to guard the surroundings both by way of increased costs, taxes or a lower in dwelling requirements. While 60% blame human exercise for local weather change, simply 6% denied there had been any decline within the surroundings.

The 2021 British Social Attitudes survey consisted of 6,250 interviews with a consultant, random pattern of adults in Britain. It was carried out just below a yr in the past between 16 September and 31 October 2021.

This article was amended on 22 September 2022 so as to add particulars from the survey about sexual identity; this was referenced in an earlier model, however related figures had not been included.

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