beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Statistics Publication

Scottish social attitudes: attitudes to government and political engagement, 2016

Published: 24 Mar 2017

Survey results on attitudes to government, political engagement, economy, standard of living and the NHS.

54 page PDF

1.1MB

54 page PDF

1.1MB

Contents
Scottish social attitudes: attitudes to government and political engagement, 2016
5. The economy, general standard of living and the National Health Service

54 page PDF

1.1MB

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

The Scottish Social Attitudes ( SSA) Survey 2016 asked participants about:

  • what the highest priority of the Scottish Government should be
  • perceived changes in the economy and in living standards over the previous year
  • satisfaction with the National Health Service and perceived changes in its quality over the previous year

In this chapter we present headline findings at a glance, and list subgroups who gave varying answers, based on statistical significance.

What should be the Scottish Government's priority?

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

  • helping the economy grow faster (28%);
  • improving standards of education (21%);
  • improving housing (16%);
  • improving people's health (15%).

Helping the economy grow faster has been people's highest priority for the Scottish Government since 2009. [18]

Emphasis on cutting crime has fallen dramatically from 27% in 2007 to 4% in 2016.

Figure 10 What should be the Scottish Government's priority (2016, %)

Figure 10 What should be the Scottish Government's priority (2016, %)

Economy

The majority of people (54%) said that Scotland's economy had weakened 'a little' or 'a lot' in the past year. This represents an increase from 2015 where 34% of people said the economy had weakened.

In 2016, the proportion of people who said that Scotland's economy had become 'a little' or 'a lot stronger' in the previous year was 15%. This figure has decreased by 11 percentage points since 2015.

Figure 11 Whether the economy strengthened ('a lot' or 'a little') or weakened ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2016, %) [5]

Figure 11 Whether the economy strengthened ('a lot' or 'a little') or weakened ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2016, %)

Perceived responsibility for changes

Among those who said the economy had improved, 60% attributed this to Scottish Government policies, 14% to UK Government policies and 18% to 'some other reason'.

Among those who said the economy had weakened, 35% attributed this to UK Government policies, 18% attributed this to Scottish Government policies, and 37% to 'some other reason'.

General standard of living

In 2016, 36% of people said the standard of living had fallen 'a lot' or 'a little', 38% said it had stayed the same, and 19% of people said they had increased 'a lot' or 'a little'.

There has been a consistent decline since 2011 in the proportion of people who say that the standard of living in Scotland has fallen. The proportion of people who said that the standard of living had increased in the past twelve months was the same as in 2015 (19%).

Figure 12 Whether general standards of living have increased ('a lot' or 'a little') or fallen ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2016, %) [5]

Figure 12 Whether general standards of living have increased ('a lot' or 'a little') or fallen ('a lot' or 'a little') in the past 12 months? (2004-2016, %)

Perceived responsibility for changes

Among those who said the standard of living had improved, 41% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, 28% to UK Government policy and 16% to 'some other reason'.

Among those who said the standard of living had worsened, 50% attributed this to UK Government policy, 15% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, and 19% 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 [19] .

Views on whether Scotland's economy had weakened varied as follows:

  • Educational qualifications - 62% of those with a degree or equivalent said the economy had weakened compared to 47% of those with no formal qualifications.
  • Living comfortably - 62% of those who were struggling on their present income said the economy had weakened compared to 56% of those who were living comfortably on their present income.
  • Economic activity - 61% of those who were retired said the economy had weakened compared to 53% of those in work.
  • Political activities - 59% of those who had engaged in at least one political activity in the last few years as a means of registering what they personally thought about an issue said the economy had weakened compared to 47% of those who had not engaged in any political activities.
  • National identity -Just under two-thirds (65%) of those who identified as equally Scottish and British thought the economy had weakened compared to a half (50%) of those who identified as more Scottish than British.

Views on whether living standards in Scotland had fallen varied as follows:

  • Living comfortably - 54% of those who were struggling to live off their current income thought living standards had fallen compared to just under a third (32%) of those who are living comfortably off their current income.
  • Political spectrum - 42% of those on the left of the political spectrum said living standards had fallen, compared to 23% of those on right.
  • Political activities - 40% of those who had engaged in at least one political activity in the last few years as a means of registering what they personally thought about an issue thought living standards had fallen compared to 28% of those who had engaged in none.
  • Sex - 40% of women thought living standards had fallen compared to 32% of men.

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?

Satisfaction with the NHS

In 2016, 60% of people reported that they were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the way the NHS runs nowadays. This figure has remained stable the last three times this question has been asked, varying between 60 and 62% since 2013. Satisfaction with the way the NHS runs nowadays had risen steadily since 2005 when more people were dissatisfied than satisfied with the way the NHS was run.

Figure 13 Satisfaction with the way the health service runs nowadays (1999-2016 , %) [5]

Figure 13 Satisfaction with the way the health service runs nowadays (1999-2016 , %)

Whether the standard of the health service in Scotland has increased or fallen

Continuing a general trend since 2010, more people said the standard of the health service in Scotland had fallen 'a little' or 'a lot' (37%) than increased 'a little' or 'a lot' (13%). 40% of people said standards had stayed the same.

Figure 14 Whether standards in the health service have increased or fallen (1999-2016 , %) [5]

Figure 14 Whether standards in the health service have increased or fallen (1999-2016 , %)

Perceived responsibility for changes

Among those who said standards in the NHS had improved, 54% attributed this to Scottish Government policy, 16% to UK Government policy and 24% to 'some other reason'.

Among those who said the standards in the NHS had fallen, 40% attributed this to UK Government policy, 25% attributed it to Scottish Government policy, and 18% to 'some other reason'.

Variations in attitudes between subgroups: NHS

Views on satisfaction with and changes to standards in the health service had improved or declined varied between a number of social groups [20] .

Satisfaction with the way the health service runs nowadays varied as follows:

  • Living comfortably - 65% of those who were living comfortably on their present income were satisfied compared with 52% of those struggling to live on their present income.
  • Self-reported health - 64% of those with good health were satisfied compared with 41% of those with poor health.
  • Sex - 62% of men were satisfied with the NHS compared to 59% of women.

Views on whether the standards in the health service have fallen varied by:

  • Self-reported health - 54% of those with poor health said standards had fallen compared to a third (33%) of those with good health
  • Age - 47% of those aged 65 and over said standards had fallen compared to 24% of 16-24 year olds.
  • Educational qualifications - 47% of those with no formal qualifications said standards had fallen compared to third (33%) of those with a degree or equivalent
  • Living comfortably - 44% of those struggling to live on their current income said standards had fallen compared to 38% of those living comfortably on their current income.
  • Sex - 41% of women said standards had fallen compared to 32% of men.
  • Children in the household - 40% of those with no children in the house said standards had fallen compared to 30% of those with children in the house.

Contact

Email: Sarah Martin