Covid-19 has also created sharp social fractures between groups who take a different view about the appropriate personal or policy response. Our findings show that the social divide on the key questions associated with Covid-19 – such as mask wearing or lockdown rules – is now deeper than the divide over Brexit.
Demos also finds:
- Over half of mask wearers in Britain (58%) have severely negative attitudes towards non-mask wearers.
- The vast majority (68%) of people who did not break lockdown rules have strong negative views about lockdown rule breakers.
- There is real concern about the increased prevalence of fake news, including around vaccines and online fraud – 54% of people think it has got worse, whilst 9% think it has improved.
- The pandemic is seen by parents as being a bad thing for their kids’ education (51%), whilst being a good thing for their relationship with their children (63%).
- People want greater flexibility regarding their place of work, with a balance between working from home and from an office or elsewhere. The proportion who would like to always work from home (19%) is higher than the proportion who did so before the pandemic (11%), but lower than have been doing so during it (25%).
Commenting on the findings, Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Demos, said:
“In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has helped communities, neighbours and wider society come together. But our new research has found that there is also a more concerning picture that has arisen. The social divisions caused by the pandemic are stark, but we must work to ensure that these divisions don’t fracture society in the long-term.
“Our project, Renew Normal, wants to hear from people up and down the country about their views on how Britain should build back from Covid-19. We hope that bringing people together for a national conversation to shape Britain’s future will help heal the divides, find common ground and take forward the best of the community spirit gained through the health crisis.”
From the polling, Demos have identified eight areas where people want to see change as the UK builds back from the pandemic. The next step for the People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19 will focus and look further at these eight modules:
- Our daily lives
- Community networks and volunteering
- Green spaces and the local environment
- Our working lives
- Where we work
- National resilience and self-sufficiency
- The social contract
- The role of low paid workers
- Reducing inequalities
- Life online:
- Living well online