Majority believe government support 'insufficient' amid soaring prices

A new survey has revealed widespread anxiety and pessimism about the country's economic outlook.

Majority believe Scottish and UK government support ‘insufficient’ amid cost of living crisis iStock

Nine in ten Scots have said that they expect a recession and worsening inflation in coming months as the UK is hit by the highest rate of inflation in 40 years.

A survey by the David Hume Institute and the Diffley Partnership has revealed widespread anxiety and pessimism about the country’s economic outlook.

More than 70% of respondents stated that the Scottish Government’s support through soaring costs has been “insufficient”, with 89% pointing the finger towards the UK Government.

Almost 95% of those surveyed also believe that the effects of the cost of living crisis will be felt for a number of years across the country.

The study also reported that 64% felt worse off now than over the past year, and 57% said their income could not satisfactorily cover rising costs – rising to 73% and 71% respectively in the most deprived neighbourhoods.

Understanding Scotland polling also found that 87% of people in Scotland expect the soaring cost of living to cause a recession, and more than nine in ten expect things to get worse before they get better.

Despite households’ best efforts to cut their outgoings, the support on offer from governments is widely seen as “inadequate”.

There is particular hostility towards energy companies, with 95% of the opinion that they have done “too little” to help people cope with rising prices, and a fifth of people believe the single biggest cause of soaring inflation is companies maximising their profits.

Rising prices, in the absence of further support, have seen large numbers of people pushed into greater vulnerability and riskier behaviours.

The wage-price spiral counterargument – which states that higher wages will drive up demand and inflation – does not appear to have much traction, with only 4% of people deeming this the primary cause of inflation.

Mark Diffley, founder and director of Diffley Partnership, said: “It is unusual to see the public mood being so unambiguously bleak.

“Financial pressures and anxiety at soaring prices are widespread across society, but particularly acute for those who are already most vulnerable.

“Across all demographic groups, and especially in more deprived communities, a clear majority are saying that the response to date from the UK and Scottish governments alike are simply not enough.”

Susan Murray, director of the David Hume Institute, added: “Since we started this survey, sadly most people have seen their financial situation deteriorate.

“With three in ten people now losing sleep due to financial stress, and over a quarter skipping or cutting meals, there are obvious consequences for the economy, labour market and people’s health.

“80% of people have already cut down on non-essentials and leisure, and over a fifth have taken on or tried to take on more work, but it’s still not enough.

“Despite their best efforts, two-thirds of people say their money simply isn’t going far enough, and most expect things to get considerably worse before they get better.

“We need a concerted package of targeted support, and we need it now.”

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