THE number of people in England reporting they have “no confidence at all” in the ability of the Tory Government to handle the Covid pandemic has quadrupled since lockdown first began.
In contrast, Scotland’s population has reported relatively unchanged levels of faith in government since the start of lockdown, although confidence in the SNP administration has fallen from its July peak.
Furthermore, while almost one-fifth of Scots have full confidence in Nicola Sturgeon’s Government, less than one in twenty English people feel the same about Boris Johnson’s.
The data comes from the latest report from University College London’s (UCL) Covid-19 Social Study. Led by Dr Daisy Fancourt, the study looks into the psychological and social impact of the pandemic and involves over 70,000 adults from across the UK.
Each week since March, those adults have been asked to rate their faith in Government from 1 to 7, with 1 being no confidence at all and 7 full confidence.
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At the beginning of the pandemic only 6 percent of people had no confidence at all in the Westminster Government to handle things effectively (score 1 out of 7). That figure is now over 4 times higher at 27 percent.
The number of people who on balance do not have confidence in the London Government’s handling (score of 1-3 out of 7) has more than doubled in the last 6 months from 25 percent to 56 percent.
Whereas 15 percent had full confidence in Boris Johnson’s Government (score of 7 out of 7) when lockdown started, this figure is now less than 5 percent.
In Scotland, there was a notable bounce in public confidence over the summer as the pandemic seemed to be easing off north of the Border.
In early July, only 4 percent of people reported having no confidence at all in Nicola Sturgeon’s Government’s ability to handle the pandemic, down from 9 percent at the start of lockdown. However, that figure is now back up to 10 percent.
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On balance, 26 percent of people currently report not having confidence in the Scottish Government (score of 1-3 out of 7). This is an improvement on the 33 percent when lockdown came in, but a substantial worsening of results since 11 percent in early July.
Similarly, 17 percent of people report having full confidence in the Holyrood Government (score of 7 out of 7), which is better than at the start of lockdown (10 percent) but half the figure it was in July (34 percent).
In Wales the story is largely unchanged since the beginning of the pandemic, although there have been fluctuations through the summer.
The devolved government in the Senedd had the full confidence of 17 percent of Welsh people at the start of lockdown, compared to 15 percent now.
The number of people with no confidence at all in the Welsh government’s ability to handle the pandemic is the same now as it was at the start of lockdown (6%).
Similarly, 26 percent reported not having confidence (score of 1-3 out of 7) at the start of lockdown, and that figure is now at 25 percent.
Fancourt, the study’s lead author, said of the English results: “Confidence levels in the Government have decreased markedly in England since the beginning of lockdown.
“This loss of confidence could be down to perceived government mismanagement of the pandemic coupled with a high number of Covid-19 cases in England.
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“Early easing of lockdown in England and scandals such as government adviser Dominic Cummings’ journey to Barnard Castle appear to have contributed to the fall.”
On the devolved administrations, she added: “The rising numbers of cases could also be to blame for the loss of confidence in Scotland and Wales, although both Scottish and Welsh devolved governments have seen a smaller reduction in confidence than the UK Government.
“This loss of confidence is deeply concerning as it is related to people’s willingness to follow guidelines and rules. It is vital that the Government listens to people’s concerns and tries to rebuild people’s trust.”