What ordinary people think of politicians (not a lot)

“Core indicators of political engagement remain stable but, beneath the surface, the strongest feelings of powerlessness and disengagement are intensifying.

Opinions of the system of governing are at their lowest point in the 15-year Audit series – worse now than in the aftermath of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

72% say the system of governing needs ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ of improvement.

The number of people who say the system needs ‘a great deal’ of improvement has risen eight points in a year, to 37%.

Asked whether the problem is the system or the people, the largest group (38%) say ‘both’.

Britons have more confidence in the military and judges than in politicians to act in the public interest.

Only 25% of the public have confidence in MPs’ handling of Brexit.

50% say the main parties and politicians don’t care about people like them.

75% say the main political parties are so divided within themselves that they cannot serve the best interests of the country.

34% still consider themselves a ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ strong supporter of a political party.

People are pessimistic about the country’s problems and their possible solution, with sizeable numbers willing to entertain radical political changes.

Well over half the public are downbeat about the state of Britain:

56% think Britain is in decline, 63% think Britain’s system of government is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful, and 66% think most big issues facing the country today don’t have clear solutions.

54% say Britain needs a strong leader who is willing to break the rules.

The public are evenly split between those who prefer politicians who make compromises with people they disagree with (48%) and those who prefer politicians who stick to their positions (45%).

66% think politicians should be able to say what’s on their mind regardless of what anyone else thinks about their views.

42% think many of the country’s problems could be dealt with more effectively if the government didn’t have to worry so much about votes in Parliament.

Marginally more people prefer experienced political parties and leaders who have been in power before (47%) to those with radical ideas for change who haven’t been in power before (43%).

55% still think that big questions should be put to the public in referendums more often than today.

Core indicators of certainty to vote, and interest in and knowledge of politics, remain stable at average or above-average levels.

The number who ‘strongly disagree’ that political involvement can change the way the UK is run (18%) has hit a 15-year high.

Of 13 political activities, the number of people saying they would be prepared to do ‘none’ is up 10 points in a year to 22%.

47% feel they have no influence at all over national decision-making – a new high for the Audit series.

32% say they do not want to be involved ‘at all’ in local decision-making, a rise of 10 points in a year.

Compared to last year, more people say that they are not at all interested in politics and know nothing about it.

30% of people say they never discuss government and politics.

53% say they have not done any form of online political activity in the last year.

61% say they would be certain to vote in an immediate general election. …”


“Ministers ‘fail to take action on Carillion’ ” while taxpayers suffer

Ministers were accused of pretending that Carillion is “no longer their problem” almost 600 days after the collapse of the outsourcing business.

Unite, the trade union, claimed that Whitehall has adopted a “business as normal approach” after the government contractor’s failure, which led to thousands of job losses and delays to key public projects.

It complained that no action has been taken against the company’s former directors as several regulatory investigations continue.

Carillion was a construction and public services giant with an annual turnover of £3.5 billion. It went bust in January 2018, leaving £1 billion of debts and pension liabilities of £2.6 billion. About 3,000 staff lost their jobs and thousands more were transferred to new suppliers and contractors.

Two of its big contracts, the Royal Liverpool and Midland Metropolitan hospitals, remain “years away” from completion, Unite said.

The Official Receiver is trying to determine whether any criminal wrongdoing by those in charge of Carillion led to its collapse. The Financial Reporting Council is examining the accuracy of its auditing processes.

Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said it was “totally apparent” that ministers had “failed to learn any lessons from this debacle”.

“Hospital projects are years away from being completed. Meanwhile patients and staff have been left to struggle on in facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.” She added that ministers had “washed their hands of the whole mess”.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said:

“We continue to support and fund the NHS Trusts in Liverpool and Birmingham to bring forward their hospital projects as quickly as possible, while making every penny of taxpayers money count.”

“Self-funded care home residents pay £12,500 a year more than councils”

“Self-funded care home residents are charged 43pc more than those funded by their local council, according to a report released today.

Analysis by Just Group, the retirement specialists, found that care home residents who front their own fees are charged an average of £12,532 per year more than their council-funded counterparts – typically paying £44,252 a year compared to £31,270.

Stephen Lowe, of Just Group, said: “These figures start to explain why people think care fees are unfair when those footing the bill are charged many thousands of pounds a year more than another person who could be in the same home.”

The gap between self-funded and local authority-funded residents has widened dramatically since 2005, according to a report by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA), the watchdog.

Nine in 10 residential homes now charge self-funders more, compared to only 20pc fourteen years ago. The same report found that the rise in fees for self-funders was due to the amount paid by local authorities not truly covering the costs to the care home.

This means residents paying their own way are effectively used to mitigate the loss to the care home’s finances. …”