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The London Intelligence: Snapshot of Londoners April 2022

Olly Worsfold Director 11 April 2022

Savanta are proud to have partnered with The Centre for London for the fifth wave of its ‘Snapshot of Londoners’ survey. Olly Worsfold, Savanta’s lead researcher on the joint project, explores some of the key findings.

Londoners see council tax, national issues and social care as the top priorities influencing their vote ahead of May’s local elections, according to the research.

Londoners place the most significance on how much council tax they pay when it comes to who they’ll vote for in the coming elections in May

The survey, which asked 1,549 Londoners to pick the top three biggest priorities that will shape their decision at the ballot box in May, found that:

  • Level of council tax ranked as the top local election priority for residents in the capital (46 per cent selecting in their top 3 priorities).
  • Council tax was over ten percentage points higher than national issues (34 per cent) and the quality of local social care services (30 per cent), which together form the top 3 biggest priorities of the population.
  • This prominence of council tax as a priority amongst respondents rose in line with working age, peaking with the 55-64 age group. Compared to the wider population, the top 3 priorities of this age group in order were council tax (56 per cent), refuse and recycling collection services (34 per cent) and the state of roads alongside quality of social care services tied in third (29 per cent each).
  • Council tax also ranked highest in Londoners’ list of vote-influencing issues irrespective of party political preferences.
  • Seen as the least likely to be a top 3 priority was the implementation of traffic control measures which restrict car usage and promote more cycling. Just 12 per cent considered this to be a key factor in their vote, although this also fluctuated based on political preference. Supporters of the Green Party were likelier to see this as an important issue (18 per cent), in comparison to Labour (11 per cent) and Conservative (12 per cent) counterparts.

 Responding to these findings, Nick Bowes, Chief Executive of Centre for London said:

However hard local parties campaign on local issues, council elections have never just been about bin collections, parking, schools and potholes. Often they become a proxy for a referendum on the party in government nationally. That’s why our polling is fascinating, as it shows Londoners place the most significance on how much council tax they pay when it comes to who they’ll vote for in the coming elections in May.    

“It is also a stark reminder of how many people are feeling the squeeze on their incomes because of the sharp rise in the cost of living. London’s poorest households already faced the increasing cost of heating their homes and travelling around the city, with rising council tax clearly at the forefront of people’s minds.

“Low-traffic neighbourhoods and other pro walking and cycling measures have been a highly polarising topic, albeit one which our polling indicates doesn’t appear to hold much overall sway on how people will be voting. Whether this is reflected in results on the day will be a key factor in whether local authorities feel emboldened to press ahead with plans to promote alternatives to the car without fear of a significant public backlash in May and beyond.”

Oliver Worsfold, Director at Savanta said:

“This latest set of results show that Londoners will, regardless of their political affiliation, be voting to minimise the impact that their council tax bill will have on their pockets in May’s local elections. Pressure on councils to bring in more funding for policing and transport by raising council tax has been increasing, and this has been brought into sharper focus by the rapidly increasing cost of living in the city. Londoners, particularly those on the lowest incomes, are certainly feeling the pinch, and will continue to do so over the coming months.”

For more information or to discuss the findings, please contact [email protected] 

Stay tuned for further insight into Londoners’ sentiments – Centre for London and Savanta will be carrying out research amongst over 1,500 Londoners every quarter to keep a finger on the pulse of the capital.