Publication Digital Education and skills Health and Care Justice Machinery of government Social security 24 October, 2017

Citizens, government and business: The State of the State 2017-18

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This year’s report finds the UK government amid the complex and politically-charged challenge of leaving the EU. But while exit issues may dominate headlines, public services face more local and immediate challenges as they address rising demand, ongoing budget pressures and heightened concerns over social inequality.

The State of the State, in its sixth year, has once again brought together Deloitte and Reform to analyse material from a range of public sources along with new, exclusive research. It is constructed around three distinctive perspectives - the citizen lens, the public sector lens and the business lens.

The citizen lens examines public attitudes towards the state, informed by a survey of more than 1,000 UK adults from every region and country of the UK. This lens found support for spending cuts to restore the public finances has halved since austerity began. In 2010, 54 per cent of the public agreed that public spending cuts were needed to restore the public finances – and now just 22 per cent agree. We also found that the proportion of the public who believe the government should extend its services, even if that means tax rises, has grown for the second year running.

The public sector lens explores how its leaders see their challenges, informed by interviews with more than 45 senior figures from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We found that demand is as much of an issue as austerity, and the public sector wants sustainable solutions. We also found that leaving the EU has created a sense of uncertainty in the public sector, most told us that they had not experienced significant, tangible effects to date.

The business lens reflects on what businesses want from the local public sector, informed by a survey of more than 1,000 UK businesses. This revealed that local businesses want councils to prioritise business rate reductions, town centre investments and local infrastructure.