Research shows Britons blame Brexit more than Covid for the decline in public services

Despite Vladimir Putin’s war and the global Covid-19 pandemic, eight years after the vote, Brexit is one of the most frequently cited reasons for the deterioration of public services, according to a new study.

Research by Ipsos has found that three in four Britons believe the quality of services is worse since the last general election in 2019.

A third (31%) blame Brexit as the cause – more than the Covid-19 outbreak (27%) in 2020.

– said head of political research Gideon Skinner Independent: “Our latest research shows that three-quarters of Britons believe that public services have deteriorated over the last five years, with government policies, rising costs and poor management, as well as persistent years of concerns about underfunding.

“Brexit, the Covid pandemic and staff shortages are also seen as contributing factors – although although Labor and Liberal Democrat voters in 2019 are more likely to blame Brexit than Covid, the opposite is the case for those who recently supported the Conservative election.”

Across all policy areas, government policies are the main culprit in the eyes of the public for deteriorating public services (45 per cent), while four in ten respondents blame cost pressures from inflation and poor management.

For Labor and Lib Dem voters, Brexit is the second most common cause of deterioration in public services (48% and 44% respectively).

Libya Democrat leader Ed Davey announced today that he will push for the UK to rejoin the European single market, and ultimately the EU, as a result of a Brexit reversal.

Meanwhile, Labor voters are most likely to believe that public services have deteriorated over the last five years (86%), but three in four Tory voters also see a decline.

A recent Ipsos survey of 5,875 people in the UK found that satisfaction with all public services has declined over the last three years. This could impact how citizens vote on July 4, Skinner said.

“This is particularly important in the run-up to the general election because the NHS in particular, as well as education, are key to how people say they will vote, and roads and transport are often important local issues,” he said.

According to Ipsos, NHS hospitals have seen the sharpest decline in satisfaction since 2021, down 39 per cent, followed by GPs and rail operators.

The public is most dissatisfied with the way roads are maintained and repaired – 82% of respondents are dissatisfied.

Residents are not satisfied with local governments

Half of the population is dissatisfied with their local council – another record low and twice as high as in 2021.

Ipsos data shows that just 1 in 5 respondents are satisfied with the way local governments are run, compared with 40% in 2021 and 50% in 2000.

In the long term, the level of satisfaction among people using public housing has fallen from 72% in 1998 to just 20% today.

Despite discussions about barriers to home buying from the Tories and Labor, the Libyan Democrats are the only party to commit to building social housing since the election was called.

The data shows that satisfaction with education at the younger stages is also falling, as net satisfaction with preschool and primary school has fallen by 24 percent since 2021.

According to national statistics, the number of teachers in kindergartens and primary schools has barely changed since 2016 and has actually fallen slightly from 222,300 teachers to 221,300 teachers in 2024.

“We know that, in addition to concerns about funding and staffing, the public is particularly keen to improve the availability, speed and ease of access to services, with accountability and ensuring a minimum standard of quality across the country,” Skinner added.