Britons’ support for welfare benefits at highest level for 20 years – study

Public support for more generous welfare benefits is at its highest level for more than two decades, amid new evidence that societal views on social security and immigration are becoming significantly more liberal, according to the latest annual barometer of British social attitudes.

The findings, which come as pressure rises on the government to retain the £20-a-week Covid-19 top-up of universal credit, indicate that seemingly entrenched popular views on benefits – that they create welfare dependency and encourage “shirking and skiving” – are melting away.

More members of the public now agree with the statement: “benefits are too low and cause hardship” than those who believe benefit levels are too high and discourage work, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey, reversing a hardening of views on social security that dates back to the late 1990s. Read more.