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Attitudes to government, the economy and public services

Published: 26 Jun 2018 09:45

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The Chief Statistician today released a set of Official Statistics drawn from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2017, covering a range of topics including attitudes to government, economy, standard of living and the NHS.

A gap in trust in the Scottish and UK Governments has existed since 1999 when the survey began. In 2017,  61% trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests and 37% to make fair decisions, down from 65% and 40% respectively in 2016. Consistent with previous years, trust in the UK Government remained considerably lower. In 2017, 20% trusted the UK Government to work in Scotland’s best interests and 16% to make fair decisions.

In 2017, 43% of people said the Scottish Government has the most influence over the way Scotland is run and 41% said the UK Government. Whereas nearly three quarters (74%) of people said that the Scottish Government should have most influence over the way Scotland is run and 15% said the UK Government should have the most influence.

The majority of respondents (64%) said that the Scottish Parliament gave Scotland a stronger voice in the UK and 57% said it gave ordinary people more say in how Scotland is governed.

2017 is the first year that improving standards of education has been the most commonly selected priority for the Scottish Government. From 2009 to 2016 helping the economy grow faster was people’s highest priority for the Scottish Government. The percentage of people identifying cutting crime as a priority has fallen from 27% in 2007 to 6% in 2017.

Half of all respondents (50%) thought the economy had weakened in the past year, compared with 54% in 2016. Of those who felt that the economy had weakened, 39% attributed this to UK Government policy, 29% attributed it to Scottish Government policy, and 15% to ‘some other reason’.

Between 2011 and 2016, the percentage of people saying that the general standard of living had fallen in the past year had been declining. In 2017, the proportion of people who said that the general standard of living had decreased was 56%, compared with 36% in 2016. In 2017, 14% thought the standard of living had got stronger and 26% thought it had stayed the same. In 2016, these figures were higher at 19% and 38% respectively. Of those in 2017 who thought the standard of living had fallen in the previous year, 50% attributed this to UK Government policy, 16% attributed it to Scottish Government policy, and 14% to ‘some other reason’.

Satisfaction with the way the NHS runs nowadays had decreased from 60% in 2016 to 55% in 2017. The proportion of people who said that the standards in the NHS had fallen over the past year increased from 37% in 2016 to 49% in 2017. Of those who thought standards had fallen, 46% attributed this to UK Government policy,  27% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, and 13% to ‘some other reason’.

People were more likely to trust public service organisations (53%) to use personal data for acceptable purposes compared to private companies (14%). 23% did not trust public service organisations to use personal data for acceptable purposes compared to 60% for private companies.

 

Background

Publications based on the Scottish Social Attitudes survey 2017 are available on the Scottish Government website.

 The Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey has been conducted by the independent research organisation ScotCen annually each year since the advent of devolution in 1999 (with the exception of 2008). It is based on interviews of between 1,200 to 1,700 people in Scotland drawn using probability sampling. The Survey provides an important source of data on attitudes of government and the Scottish Parliament over this period.

The SSA interviews in 2017 took place between July 2017 and February 2018. The sample size in 2017 was 1,234.

From 1999 to 2015, the survey was conducted with adults aged 18 and over. For the first time in 2016 the age range for the survey was extended to include 16 and 17 year olds to reflect the lowering of the age limit for voting in Scottish elections.

Details of the survey methodology are provided in the Technical Annex published alongside this report.

These statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards for statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About