‘Half the UK believes Westminster’s in charge of lockdown’
HALF the population of Britain believes the Westminster government is responsible for lockdown measures across the UK, according to research by a team from Cardiff University.
The failure of London-based newspapers in particular to make it clear that the UK Government’s Covid-19 remit does not extend to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is singled out in the report.
Just under 200 participants in a survey were asked last month whether the UK Government or the UK Government and devolved administrations were in charge of the lockdown measures. Half of all respondents incorrectly said the UK Government.
Many people were confused about where they could exercise. Although the new measures in England allow people to use their car to exercise, six in 10 participants did not know that in Scotland and Wales they had to remain in their local environment. Nearly a quarter thought rules about exercising were UK-wide.
The researchers showed participants the UK Government’s new guidance to “stay alert” rather than
“stay home” for people in England. Only 11 in 20 respondents correctly identified the advert as being relevant to England only, with almost a third thinking it was UK-wide guidance.
Professor Stephen Cushion, of Cardiff University’s journalism school, who led the research, said: “Despite more than 20 years of devolution, many people across the UK remain confused about the different powers political bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hold.
“News media in each nation helps people understand these differences, but many people across the four nations continue to watch, read or listen to UK network media or consume largely English-produced newspapers.”