- The Institute for Customer Satisfaction found last year that satisfaction with public services had risen since the previous summer “as the sector continues the ongoing upward trend in satisfaction it has experienced since 2011”. The Institute’s Customer Satisfaction Index gave public services a score of 74.1 out of 100, 2.3 points higher than they scored in July 2015. It rose more swiftly than satisfaction with any other sector.
- The King’s Fund, reporting last year on the Social Attitudes Survey, recorded public satisfaction with the NHS as being “63 per cent in 2016. The change in satisfaction since 2015 was not statistically significant”. Peak satisfaction with the service was recorded in 2010 at 70 per cent – which we will count as a Labour year, despite most of it passing under the Coalition. This is because seems reasonable to conclude that any satisfaction rating is based on the recent past.
- That 63 per cent satisfaction rate was higher than in all but two years of Labour’s 13 year term (one of them being 2010, the other 2009, when was 64 per cent).
- The survey itself said that “levels of dissatisfaction with the NHS are comparatively low and remain relatively stable, despite reductions in funding since 2010…many of the reasons people are dissatisfied with the NHS relate to the resources it has available and those who are dissatisfied are more likely to think the NHS is facing a “severe” funding problem – yet they are no more likely to favour policy options directed at addressing this problem.
- However, voter attitudes to public services may be set to change over the medium term. This year’s Social Attitudes Survey found “support for ‘tax more, spend more’ at its highest for a decade”.
- Be that as it may, while changing views on spending and tax represent “notable changes as compared with recent years, they still only represent a partial move back to an earlier mood. The 48% of people who now want more taxation and spending compares with a joint-record low of 32% in 2010, but highs of 63% in 1998, and 65% in 1991”. Please note that “for the first time in more than 30 years, pensions are not the public’s top priority for extra spending on benefits”.
As we wrote yesterday, the Corbynite-Momentum-Left movement is trying to bluff Conservative MPs into believing that public support for its hysterical worldview is higher than it really is.
The main aim of this gambit is to bring down the Government through a combination of extra-parliamentary protests (John McDonnell claims that Theresa May has “not got the right to govern”) and inter-parliamentary pressure – aimed at panicking Tory MPs into voting against the Government, or threatening to.
For the record: the Conservatives have 318 seats; McDonnell’s party has 262. The Government can get a very long way towards 2022, and perhaps make it that finishing-line, if the MPs who support it keep calm and carry on.
And part of that carrying on and keeping calm is to study the evidence carefully when the Left-Momentum-Corbynite-Labour thing claims that voters have been raging against “austerity” since 2010.