C4 poll: 'Public want govt ad spend cut'

Thursday, May 6 2010,

A Channel 4 online poll about the budget deficit has shown that Brits would most like to see spending cuts on the Armed Forces, religion and government advertising.

The poll was part of an online game titled Chop Or Not, which asked respondents what they want the next government to do about reducing the UK's 152 billion budget deficit.

A sample of around 5,000 users looked at different areas of government spending and then indicated where they would like to see a reduction in funding.

Nearly 90% of respondents chose to cut military spending by withdrawing from Iraq, while 85% said that they would slash financial support for churches.

A further 84% of Brits opted to cut the government's budget for advertising and marketing, which has grown to around 253m in the past year.

Among respondents aged 35 or younger, 71% of people wanted to reduce funding the London 2012 Olympics.

Women were most concerned with saving funding for agriculture, forestry and fishing (87%), followed by the Sure Start scheme for families (85%) and transport (84%).

Male respondents instead prioritised secondary education (85%), followed by employee pensions (80%) and funding for street lighting (85%).

Jamie Arnold from the 4 Innovation for the Public (4iP) organisation, which commissioned the game, said: "By putting voters in the position of making such difficult choices, Channel 4 has been able highlight the tough decisions our future government will face.

"It has also allowed us to build a picture of what the British public themselves would prioritise when faced with such decisions."

Channel 4's marketing manager Andy Pipes added: "These results reveal some surprising attitudes towards public spending from the voters polled in our game.

"While issues such as how much we should spend on our military are often spoken about in the news, other areas of potential cuts should perhaps be highlighted more often.

"Areas such as church spending or government advertising, which was reported by the Central Office of Information last year as having been increased by over 50% in just a year."

Channel 4 will tonight broadcast a political-themed edition of Come Dine With Me as part of its alternative election night.