Publication - Statistics

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2017: attitudes data

Published: 26 Jun 2018
Directorate:
Constitution and Cabinet Directorate
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781788519694

This survey provides an important source of data on attitudes to government, the economy and public services over this period.

60 page PDF

1.2 MB

60 page PDF

1.2 MB

Contents
Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2017: attitudes data
5. The economy, general standard of living and the National Health Service

60 page PDF

1.2 MB

5. The economy, general standard of living and the National Health Service

The Scottish Social Attitudes ( SSA) Survey 2017 asked participants about:

  • What the highest priority of the Scottish Government should be
  • Perceived changes in the economy and in the general standard of living over the previous year
  • Satisfaction with the way the National Health Service runs nowadays and perceived changes in standards in the health service over the previous year

In this chapter we present headline findings at a glance, and highlight statistically significant differences in views between different groups in the population.

What should be the Scottish Government's priority?

Figure 9 shows that when asked to choose what the Scottish Government's highest priority should be from a list, the four priorities selected most often were:

  • improving standards of education (26%);
  • help the economy grow faster (22%);
  • improving people's health (19%);
  • Improve housing (15%);

This is the first year that improving standards of education has been the most commonly selected priority for the Scottish Government ( Figure 9). From 2009 until 2016 helping the economy grow faster was people's highest priority for the Scottish Government. [23]

The percentage of people identifying cutting crime as the priority has fallen dramatically from 27% in 2007 to 6% in 2017.

Figure 9 What should be the Scottish Government's highest priority? (2017, %)
Figure 9 What should be the Scottish Government's highest priority? (2017, %)

How has Scotland's economy changed over the last 12 months?

Half of people (50%) said that Scotland's economy had weakened 'a little' or 'a lot' in the past year. This compared with 54% in 2016. In 2017, the proportion of people who said that Scotland's economy had become 'a little' or 'a lot stronger' in the past year was 15%. This figure is the same as in 2016 (Figure 10).

Figure 10 Has Scotland's economy strengthened ('a lot' or 'a little') or weakened ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2017, %)
Figure 10 Has Scotland's economy strengthened ('a lot' or 'a little') or weakened ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2017, %)

Perceived responsibility for changes

Of those who said the economy had weakened, 39% attributed this to UK Government policies, 29% attributed this to Scottish Government policies, and 15% to 'some other reason'.

Of those who said the economy had improved, 68% attributed this to Scottish Government policies, 10% to UK Government policies and 14% to 'some other reason'.

How has the general standard of living in Scotland changed over the last 12 months?

In 2017, 56% of people said the general standard of living had fallen 'a lot' or 'a little', 26% said it had 'stayed the same', and 14% of people said it had increased 'a lot' or 'a little' ( Figure 11).

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 this figure increased by 20 percentage points. The proportion of people who said that the standard of living had increased was 14% in 2017 compared to 19% in 2016 (Figure 11).

Figure 11 Has the general standard of living in Scotland increased ('a lot' or 'a little') or fallen ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2017, %)
Figure 11 Has the general standard of living in Scotland increased ('a lot' or 'a little') or fallen ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2017, %)

Perceived responsibility for changes

Of those who said the standard of living had worsened, 50% attributed this to UK Government policy, 16% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, and 14% to 'some other reason'.

Of those who said the standard of living had improved, 43% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, 28% to UK Government policy and 15% to 'some other reason'.

Variations in attitudes between subgroups: Economy & general standard of living

Views on changes to the economy, standards of living and standards in the health service had improved or declined varied between a number of social groups, based on statistical significance, and are listed here. Variables with no statistically significant differences are listed in Annex A.

Views on whether Scotland's economy had weakened varied by subgroup as follows [24] :

Scotland's economy had weakened by 'a little' or 'a lot'

Subgroups %
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 52
'No interest at all' in politics 28
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 52
Didn't feel close to a particular party 46
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 42
Other 54
Sex
Female 50
Male 49
Tenure
Home owners 53
Private renters 46
Social renters 44
Age
16-24 45
25-39 43
40-64 53
65+ 55
National identity
More Scottish than British 45
Equally Scottish and British 57
More British than Scottish 61
Educational Qualification
Degree or equivalent 58
No formal qualifications 47

Views on whether living standards in Scotland had fallen varied by subgroup as follows [25] :

Living standards in Scotland had fallen by 'a little' or 'a lot'

Subgroups %
Age
16-24 31
25-39 52
40-64 63
65+ 61
Tenure
Home owners 59
Private renters 43
Social renters 58
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 29
In work or waiting to take up work 55
Unemployed 56
Retired 61
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 59
Didn't feel close to a particular party 49
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 56
'No interest at all' in politics 49
Political Spectrum
Right 53
Left 60
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 58
Other 54
Living Comfortably
Living comfortably on present income 53
Struggling on their present income 69
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 53
State benefits 67

National Health Service ( NHS)

People were asked two key questions on the National Health Service in Scotland:

  • How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the way the National Health Service runs nowadays?
  • Has the standard of the health service in Scotland increased or fallen in the last 12 months?

How satisfied are you with the way the NHS runs?

In 2017, 55% of people reported that they were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the way the NHS runs nowadays. This compared with 60% in 2016. 30% of people said they were dissatisfied and 15% were neither satisfied or dissatisfied (Figure 12).

Figure 12 How satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the way in which the National Health Service runs nowadays? (1999-2017, %)
Figure 12 How satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the way in which the National Health Service runs nowadays? (1999-2017, %)

How has the standard of the health service in Scotland changed over the last 12 months?

In 2017, 49% of people said that standards in the health services had fallen 'a little' or 'a lot' in the past year. This compared with 37% in 2016. 36% of people said standards had stayed the same, 9% said they had increased 'a little' or 'a lot' (Figure 13).

Figure 13 Has the standard of the health service in Scotland increased or fallen in the past 12 months? (1999-2017, %)
Figure 13 Has the standard of the health service in Scotland increased or fallen in the past 12 months? (1999-2017, %)

Perceived responsibility for changes

Of those who said standards in the NHS had fallen, 46% attributed this to UK Government policy, 27% attributed it to Scottish Government policy, and 13% to 'some other reason'.

Of those who said standards in the NHS had improved, 57% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, 16% to UK Government policy and 13% to 'some other reason'.

Variations in attitudes between subgroups: NHS

Satisfaction with, and views on whether standards in the health service had improved or declined varied between a number of social groups, based on statistical significance, and are listed here. Variables with no statistically significant differences are listed in Annex A.

Satisfaction with the way the health service is run varied by subgroup as follows [26] :

'Satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the way the health service runs nowadays.

Subgroups %
Living Comfortably
Living comfortably on present income 60
Struggling on their present income 40
Age
16-24 60
25-39 58
40-64 50
65+ 58
Self-reported Health
Good health 57
Poor health 43
Political Spectrum
Right 68
Left 53
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 57
State benefits 48
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 70
In work or waiting to take up work 54
Unemployed 37
Retired 56

Views on whether the standards in the health service have fallen varied by subgroup as follows [27] :

Standards in the health service have fallen by 'a little' or 'a lot'

Subgroups %
Age
16-24 43
25-39 36
40-64 54
65+ 57
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 45
State benefits 62
Self-reported Health
Good health 45
Poor health 65
Children in Household
No children 53
With children 39
Educational Qualification
Degree or equivalent 43
No formal qualifications 51
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 51
Didn't feel close to a particular party 45
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 47
Other 50
Tenure
Home owners 51
Private renters 41
Social renters 52
Political Spectrum
Right 38
Left 53

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