Petrol prices and cuts likely to fuel protests

By Martha Linden
Saturday 05 March 2011 01:00

Fuel prices and cuts to public services are the issues most likely to spark public protests in Britain, according to research.

More than half of those surveyed, 52 per cent, are ready to take action on fuel prices, while 47 per cent said they would protest about axing public services in areas like health and libraries.

The online survey of 2,003 people, carried out last month for Theos, the public theology think-tank, showed 35 per cent were willing to take action over bankers' bonuses. Nearly one in five, 19 per cent, said they would act over global poverty with 17 per cent ready to protest about climate change.

The research showed traditional forms of protest remain the most popular, with 36 per cent having signed a petition in the past year. Fifteen per cent said they started, followed or supported a campaign using social media like Facebook or Twitter to influence policy in the past year, while the same number contacted a politician.

Social media as a means of protest was most popular among 18 to 24-year-olds, with nearly a quarter of this group saying they had used this as a form of protest in the past year, compared with 8 per cent of over-55s. Only 2 per cent took part in a public demonstration, but 29 per cent would consider it.

The findings on fuel prices come as Chancellor George Osborne comes under pressure to cancel a 1p duty rise in April.

Last month Mr Osborne repeated his pledge to examine that option and said the Government was continuing to look into the introduction of a stabiliser mechanism to iron out big price fluctuations.

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