Austerity Number of people who say they have been affected by cuts
Perceptions about the future of policing have declined to the lowest levels since 2002. Two in five people think that the way their area is policed will decline over the next few years, with just one in ten believing it will improve. There are similarly low levels of optimism about education, with 40 per cent of people saying they expect standards to get worse, compared to 32 per cent in the previous year.The figures suggest that more people are worried about the possible future impact of cuts than are feeling the effects they are having now. But the figures, by researcher Ipsos Mori, also show that people are more pessimistic about public services now than at any other point in the past 15 years. Three in five think they have declined in the past five years, an increase from the 43 per cent who said the same in 2015. The figures show that people feel more pessimistic about almost every aspect of public services than they did in 2015. But only 26 per cent said they or their families have been directly affected by cuts. The number of people who say they have been affected by austerity has fallen from more than one in three to one in four. Six years ago, 36 per cent of people said they had felt the impact of cuts to public services. This has now fallen to 26 per cent, despite continued reports about the impact of austerity measures. There was also a drop in the number of people who felt cuts had been necessary, with just 45 per cent feeling that way compared to 59 per cent in 2013. Analysts said the data showed “record levels of concern” about public services, but that worries were not yet affecting the significant Conservative poll lead, which currently stands at 21 points.Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori, said: “Confidence in the government’s policies for public services is much lower than in its economic policies, but so far that isn’t stopping the Conservatives keeping a clear lead in people’s voting intentions.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.