Majority who followed social-distancing rules resent those who did not

Coronavirus is dividing Britain: Majority of people who followed social-distancing restrictions resent lockdown rule breakers as solidarity gives way to distrust, study finds

  • Think tank Demos surveyed 10,061 adults in the UK between 31 July and 7 August
  • Poll found 68% of those who did not break lockdown rules resent those who did 
  • The study also cited access to green space as one of the most important issues
  • It comes as gatherings of more than six will be banned in England from Monday 

The majority of people who followed social-distancing restrictions during the coronavirus lockdown resent rule breakers, a study has found.

Britain is more divided over the virus than it was about Brexit, according to think tank Demos’ online poll of 10,061 adults taken between 31 July and 7 August.

The research also found that 58 per cent of people who wear masks in the UK have ‘severely negative attitudes’ towards those who do not.

Britain is more divided over the virus than it was about Brexit, according to think tank Demos’ online poll (pictured: police speak to demonstrators in breach of lockdown rules in May)

It showed 68 per cent of people who did not break lockdown rules have strong negative feelings towards those who did.

In comparison, only 33 per cent of people who voted Remain in the Brexit referendum feel animosity towards Leave voters, and 20 per cent of Leavers showed resentment towards Remainers.

The survey also considered issues reported during lockdown, with access to green space being cited as one of the most important problems.

Other issues included challenges facing the social care system, health inequality, the benefits system, educational inequalities and air pollution.

Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Demos, said: ‘In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has helped communities, neighbours and wider society come together. 

‘But our new research has found that there is also a more concerning picture that has arisen. The social divisions caused by the pandemic are stark, but we must work to ensure that these divisions don’t fracture society in the long-term.

‘Our project, Renew Normal, wants to hear from people up and down the country about their views on how Britain should build back from Covid-19. 

‘We hope that bringing people together for a national conversation to shape Britain’s future will help heal the divides, find common ground and take forward the best of the community spirit gained through the health crisis.’

The research also found that 58 per cent of people who wear masks in the UK have ‘severely negative attitudes’ towards those who do not (pictured: commuters on the Jubilee line in June)

It comes as the number of people that can attend social gatherings will be slashed in England following a rise in coronavirus cases. 

Gatherings of more than six people either indoors and outdoors, at home or in a pub will be illegal from Monday. 

A single household or support bubble that is larger than six will still be able to gather.

Covid-secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality settings can still hold more than six in total. 

Education and work settings are not affected by the new rules.

Weddings and funerals can still go ahead with a limit of 30 people if conducted in a Covid-secure way.

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