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Cost of Living

Onward polling: Voters rank green policies as the least likely reason for cost of living crisis

29 September 2023

Polling by Public First and analysed by Onward, paints an important picture of how the public thinks about green policies in the context of the cost of living crisis.

As the Figure below shows, out of 11 reasons offered to people as to why the cost of living has become higher, the “UK trying to be more environmentally friendly” comes last, a long way behind increased global demand and price of energy, the conflict in Ukraine, Brexit and Covid-19.

Elsewhere in the report the authors write:

Voters thought that greener forms of energy were cheaper. Over half of the public (56%) and Conservative voters (53%) thought that investing in wind and solar would bring their energy bills down (vs a quarter who felt that investing less) in renewables would reduce living costs.

The message across these findings is clear: concerns about the cost of living are widely held, but green policies are not seen as the cause of the country’s current economic problems.

The latest from the Cost of Living timeline:

Opinion Insight 21st February 2024

Survey: Three quarters of the public are worried about the impact of climate change on their bills

In a survey of 2000 people carried out by Opinium, on behalf of Positive Money, 75% of UK adults were concerned about the impact of climate change on the cost of heating or cooling their home, while 69% were worried about the impact of grocery prices, 54% on the price of housing or rent, 74% on electricity costs, 68% on the cost of water and 59% on transport costs.

These concerns about ‘climateflation’ show that the perceived impacts of climate change are not confined to changes in the weather (although these are becoming more noticeable to people too).

Climate Barometer data backs this up – concern about the impact of climate change on household bills was the third most common choice behind ‘harm to nature and wildlife’ and ‘suffering and hardship for the world’s poorest’.

Separate analysis investigating the cost of ‘not zero‘ (i.e. not pursuing net zero goals fast enough) by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) supports people’s concerns: households really are facing higher bills because of a lack of action on climate change. Their calculations reveal that cumulative savings of £70bn on the UK’s energy bill could have been made had investments happened over past decade.

The Positive Money report emphasises that these climate-linked costs are disproportionately felt by lower income households.

Climate Barometer Tracker 10th November 2023

Tracker data: Majority of public think climate inaction will cost too much

Despite having concerns about the costs of climate change, and the cost of living, people in the UK have a clear understanding of the trade-offs necessary for climate action. Despite minor shifts, a majority still feel that it will cost too much *not* to tackle climate change now. A smaller percentage (23% in our most recent wave)  say that “it will cost too much to tackle climate change now”.

View Cost of Living timeline now

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