COVID-19: Majority of British public do not trust government to manage pandemic – survey

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The majority of the British public does not trust the government to manage the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey.

Some 57% of people said they did not trust the government to control the spread of COVID-19.

It was the first time since April that a majority of people have been distrusting of the government’s ability to handle the pandemic.

How COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK compare
Image:Comparing the COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK

Despite this, 44% said they supported the government’s approach to controlling the pandemic, compared to the 25% who oppose it.

The finding was based on research by King’s College London and Ipsos Mori, and 2,244 interviews with UK residents aged 16-75 carried out online between 20 and 24 November.

Almost seven out of 10 say the government response has been confused and inconsistent – up from 42% at the beginning of the crisis.

About four out of 10 say the government has adapted badly to the changing scientific information – up from 15% in early April.

Just over half of those surveyed said the government’s handling had been a national humiliation and two-thirds said the government had failed to prepare properly for a second wave of infections.

Some 45% said the government had done a bad job of protecting young people’s futures during the pandemic and 46% said they had done a bad job of protecting the health of elderly or vulnerable people.

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “Trust in authority is key to maintaining compliance with the unprecedented restrictions that the public are being asked to live with and building a sense of collective responsibility.

“The UK government began this crisis with seven in 10 people saying they trusted its handling of the pandemic – but it has haemorrhaged public confidence ever since.

“Now, for the first time, a majority say they distrust its management of the crisis.

“However, despite all the negative and declining ratings, nearly half the public say they support the government’s approach, almost twice the proportion that oppose it, and virtually unchanged from July.

“So while perceptions of the government are declining, support for the actual measures are not – which reflects the incredible ongoing commitment among the majority of the public to controlling the spread of the virus.”

A government spokeswoman said: “The government has been working day and night to battle against coronavirus, taking the right steps at the right time to deliver a strategy to protect our NHS and save lives and livelihoods.

“We have been guided by the advice of experts from SAGE and its sub-committees throughout and our response helped to ensure the NHS was not overwhelmed.

“We have made significant strides in our response to tackling coronavirus including building the largest diagnostic testing system in British history from scratch, helping to stop the spread of coronavirus through NHS Test and Trace, and securing 357 million doses of potential vaccines through the work of the Vaccines Taskforce, with the first vaccines set to be rolled out next week.”

Sky news

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