Survey: Britons more Thatcherite now than in 1980s

Britain is now more Thatcherite than when Margaret Thatcher was in power, with people much less supportive of the welfare state and the redistribution of wealth than in the 1980s, according to an authoritative study of the country’s mood.

New Labour oversaw the biggest recorded shift to the right in public attitudes on those measures, despite a surge in concern about the scale of the wealth gap between rich and poor.

Sympathy towards benefit claimants has evaporated, along with support for redistributive tax and spend policies, over the past 20 years, with Labour governing during a period of significant hardening of attitudes towards the poor, the annual results of the British Social Attitudes survey reveal.