The Guardian

Britain ‘more Thatcherite now than in the 80s’ says survey
The Guardian

Britain is now more Thatcherite than when Margaret Thatcher was in power, with people much less supportive of the welfare state and the redistribution of wealth than in the 1980s, according to an authoritative study of the country’s mood.

Sympathy towards benefit claimants has evaporated, along with support for redistributive tax and spend policies, over the past 20 years, with Labour governing during a period of significant hardening of attitudes towards the poor, the annual results of the British Social Attitudes survey reveal.

It finds that the public is now less sympathetic towards benefit claimants than at the end of the Thatcher era. In 1991, 58% thought the government should spend more on benefits. By 2009 that had more than halved to 27%. Just over half (51%) backed policies to redistribute income from rich to poor in 1989, compared with 36% now.

It is twenty years since Margaret Thatcher left office, but public opinion is far closer now to many of her core beliefs than it was then. Our findings show that attitudes have hardened over the last two decade, and are more in favour of cutting benefits and against taxing the better off disproportionately.