The majority of Brits see investment in technology as a higher priority than tax hikes in 10 out of 15 areas of public spending, according to a study by ThoughtWorks.
Envisioning a world post-pandemic, more than nine in 10 (93%) UK citizens are calling for greater long-term investment in the public sector to prepare for an uncertain future.
The COVID-19 upheaval has a inspired a new-found appreciation for public service workers, with 88% of respondents saying they value the public sector more now than they did pre-outbreak. The appreciation was most prominent for the NHS (65%), care services (41%) and GP surgeries (36%).
Surveying a representative sample of more than 2,000 adults, ThoughtWorks asked participants to identify the public sector areas they believed to be most in need of investment. The NHS (95%), the emergency services (94%) and mental health (92%) topped the list in terms of respondents’ willingness to pay higher taxes. That said, in 10 other key areas, respondents deemed tech refurbishment and investment to be of more importance in terms of progressing UK public services without raising taxes. The areas most deserving of technology investment were: public health campaigns (50%), probation (49%), education (48%) and higher education (47%).
On top of this, almost two in five people feel technology can widen access to mental health services (38%) and social care provision (38%).
|Net: priority area for greater support||% accept the need to increase taxes||% that believe tech can improve capability and efficiency|
|Pensions and welfare benefits||90%||37%||42%|
|Teaching (primary and secondary)||89%||30%||47%|
|Public health campaigns||87%||22%||50%|
“In recent years, we all too often associate public services with spending. In the last month, the focus has been on the people – the extraordinary bravery and commitment of our public sector heroes working around the clock to save lives, keep society safe and to maintain essential frontline services. it has been a time for everyone in the UK to take great pride in the services that our taxes pay for – and to fully appreciate a health service that is free on point of use,” said David Howell, director of public sector at ThoughtWorks.
“Our research also comes at a time when every household in isolation has relied on technology to work, to communicate with family members, to attend school and to order food and essential items,” he added. “Our research shows people have made the connection between renewed appreciated of public services and considering the impact that technology could have on its future. We are about to enter a challenging economic ‘new reality’ and technology now has a vital role to play to ensure the public services we value can be grown and tailored to the people’s needs as we set about rebuilding Britain in the years after the pandemic.”