Poll backs controls on how people spend benefits

Most people believe the government should start controlling how benefit recipients spend their money, according to new polling data released by the Demos think-tank. Six out of ten people agree the government should control what people spend universal credit on, and this proportion rises sharply for certain recipient groups and for the purchase of specific items.

Populus Data Solutions interviewed 2,052 adults during the period 15–17 August 2012.

Key findings

  • 87 per cent of people said at least one group of welfare recipients should have their benefit spending controlled. 77 per cent wanted monitoring of people with a substance or gambling addiction, and 69 per cent wanted monitoring of those with a criminal or anti-social history.
  • 68 per cent wanted to stop benefits being spent on gambling, 54 per cent on unhealthy items such as cigarettes or alcohol, 46 per cent on branded goods such as Nike trainers, and 35 per cent on holidays.
  • The two age groups most likely to back controls were those aged over 65 and those aged 18–24.
  • Richer ('AB') socio-economic groups were most likely to back controls (61 per cent), whereas the poorest ('DE') groups were least likely (49 per cent).
  • Only 1 in 4 thought direct payment of housing benefit to tenants was a good idea.
  • The single most common reason given for controlling spending of benefits was that: 'it's the state's money after all'.

Source: Press release 2 October 2012, Demos
LinksDemos press release | Polling results | BBC report