Major changes in the British welfare state were initiated during the 1980s in response to the 1970s’ stagflation, rapid globalisation and the government’s inability to ensure full employment: the relatively unrestricted payment of unemployment benefits was replaced by a jobseekers’ allowance with applicants obliged to seek work actively and, if required, undergo training. Public support for this shift lagged behind the policy introductions, but from 1997 on there was a major change in attitudes towards welfare beneficiaries. Analysis of social attitude survey data for 1983-2011 shows this change occurred during the decade of relative prosperity under the New Labour governments. There was a growing concentration of anti-welfare attitudes across all social groups, regions and supporters of the main political parties.
- public attitudes