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New research shows that public attitudes to poverty and welfare are hardening
The report identified a trend in which the public has become increasingly likely to say that individual characteristics rather than societal issues cause poverty. For example:
- Two-thirds (66%) of the public identify an explanation for child poverty that relates to the characteristics and behaviour of parents, compared to the 28% who say it is down to broader social issues.
- 15% of the public in 1994 thought people lived in need because of laziness or lack of willpower, compared to 23% in 2010. Support for the view that people live in poverty because of injustice in society fell from 29% to 21% over the same time period.
Slightly more positively however, people today do acknowledge the "significant" levels of child poverty and three quarters of resondents viewed it as a big responsibility for central government and 53% also though it was an issue for local government.