Edinburgh, 4 September – A new poll by TNS UK reveals that the general public are split evenly on whether Labour or the Conservatives would be best placed to reduce unemployment. This latest survey looked at what the top policy priorities are for the general public and which parties they most trust to deliver on these.

The poll of 1,187 showed that reducing unemployment remains the top public priority for the British public, though the importance of this has declined over the last year. Investing more in healthcare is now the second most important measure, while generating economic growth has reduced slightly to third place since September 2013. Stricter border controls to reduce immigration is the fourth public priority.

Both the Labour and Conservative parties had 32% of those surveyed saying they were best placed to reduce unemployment. The research also shows that the Conservative party are currently the most trusted on the issue of generating economic growth with 41%, whilst the Labour party are most trusted on the issue of investing more in health care (38%). When it comes to reducing immigration, UKIP is trusted the most (43%) and the Conservative and Labour parties are trusted 21% and 14% respectively. The Liberal Democrats are the least trusted on all four top priority areas.

The survey also shows a gender split on what public priorities should be. Men prioritise generating economic growth first, reducing unemployment second and investing more in healthcare third. In contrast women see investing more in healthcare as the main public policy priority, followed by stricter border controls to reduce immigration, with reducing unemployment their third most important priority.

When comparing age groups the priority for all age groups from 18 to 54 is reducing unemployment, while those aged 54-64 see generating economic growth as most important. However, those aged 65+ say that stricter border controls to reduce immigration should be the main public policy priority.

Conservative voters prioritise generating economic growth, reducing the national debt and stricter border controls to reduce immigration. The main three priorities for Labour supporters are reducing unemployment, investing more in healthcare and reducing income inequality between the richest and the poorest. Liberal Democrat voters prioritise economic growth, unemployment and opportunities for the young. UKIP supporters prioritise stricter border control, healthcare and renegotiating the EU.

Commenting on the new survey, Dr Michelle Harrison, CEO of Kantar Public, said, “This latest research shows among the two main parties neither has established a clear lead on tackling unemployment. Against a backdrop of ‘jobless growth’ these findings provide food for thought for the party leaders as conference season approaches.”

TNS UK Public Opinion Monitor infographic

Notes to editors

TNS Omnibus interviewed a representative sample of 1,187 adults in Great Britain between 12th and 14th August 2014. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion. The data is weighted to match population totals for age, sex, social grade, working status, presence of children, 2010 voting patterns and region.

Detailed tables for this survey can be found here.

About TNS

TNS UK advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

TNS UK was awarded the Market Research Society’s (MRS) Agency of the Year 2013.

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