Britons say no to Nanny!

·     An Adam Smith Institute / YouGov poll has found that the majority of the British public do not see politicians as well-equipped to make personal decisions for them.

·     Most Britons do not think government should be telling them how much to drink or what they should be eating.

·     The public also believe that securing a job depends on their own efforts, not the government, with 71% of Brits expressing this view.

In a briefing paper released today by the Adam Smith Institute results of a recent poll show that Britons are not supportive of the growing nanny state. By large majorities the British public reject many aspects of the nanny state and prefer to make their own decisions.

Below are some of the key findings:

·     The majority of Brits do not believe government should provide advice on what foods people should eat and how much they should drink. 48% stated this, while only 22% believed government should provide advice.
·     Older people (those aged 60 & above) disagreed most strongly with government doing this. Social group C2DE also disagreed with government providing advice on what they eat and drink much more than ABC1. Dr Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute says in response to these findings: “Government has no right or mandate to single out some social groups and patronise them by restricting their free choices.”

·     Nearly two out of three Britons disagreed with the statement that ‘politicians and civil servants are well-equipped to make personal decisions on my behalf’.
·     Strongest disagreement to this statement came from those aged 60 or over (73%) and in Scotland (71%).

·     Well over two to one people in Britain think that their pension will come from their own savings. This was especially the case with Tories where 61% said this was the case, and only 19% disagreeing.

·     People in Britain think that getting a job depends on their own efforts, not the government.  71% of Britons agree with this position, versus only 7% who disagree.

·     Views on whether it is part of government’s job to make secure housing available break along party lines. Only 21% of Tory voters agree with this, but 48% disagree. It is the opposite with Labour voters where 55% agree that it is the government’s duty to supply secure housing, while only 16% disagree.

·     Despite the recent financial crisis, the desire to run their own business at some stage is high amongst young people. Of the 18-24 yr age group, 49% agreed with the statement ‘At some stage I would quite like to run my own business instead of working all my life for other people’, versus 27% who did not. The Scots disagreed with this statement the most with 44% of them not wanting to run their own business, and only 28% wanting to. 

The paper's author, Dr Madsen Pirie, welcomes the poll's findings.  He says: "They confirm that, despite recent economic troubles, there is still considerable self-confidence among the British, coupled with a determination to make decisions for themselves instead of having them imposed by politicians and bureaucrats."

Dr Pirie particularly welcomes the finding that large numbers of young people aspire to running their own businesses.  He comments: "It is new businesses that create the jobs and the future wealth of the nation, and this is a very positive indicator for the nation's future well-being, as well as that of the young people themselves."


·      All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,742 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th - 13th August 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

·     Britons say no to nanny is a paper released by the Adam Smith Institute, the UK’s leading libertarian think tank. You can read the full report at:  You can view the full breakdown of results here: