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Nearly half of Britons believe standard of living will drop by 2030

By Amanda Cooper

RSA survey shows job insecurity and government policy decisions largely to blame for pessimism

Millions of Britons are not confident that they’ll enjoy a decent standard of living in a decade’s time, according to a UK survey.

A poll by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) of 2,000 UK-based adults suggested economic insecurity is widespread. It showed that just 43 believe they will enjoy a decent standard of living in ten years’ time. 40 per cent said they were not confident.

In total, 42 per cent said they thought policy decisions made by the state were primarily to blame for economic insecurity in the UK. Yet few think the state is there to help them, the survey showed. 54 per cent said they thought inequality will get worse without more government action.

Even older people, who are more likely to own their own homes and enjoy a greater degree of financial security than younger generations, are not optimistic. The survey showed just 29 per cent were confident that they would maintain a decent standard of living in a decade, while 62 per cent were confident of doing so in 12 months.

This compares with 54 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 41 per cent of 25 to 35-year-olds.

“Whether this youthful Panglossian attitude is misplaced or not … the fall of confidence in older people is striking,” said Matthew Taylor, RSA chief executive.

The poll showed:

  • 78 per cent of those surveyed believe workers face more uncertainty and anxiety about their jobs than they did a generation ago
  • 61 per cent think employers care less about their workforce than a generation ago
  • 57 per cent think employers will care even less in the future

A separate United Nations report this year said that while the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, one fifth of its population, or 14 million people, live in poverty.

Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, said policies of austerity introduced in 2010 continued “largely unabated, despite the tragic social consequences”.

FURTHER READING: A new age: Is the UK’s ageing population a problem?

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