‘Half the UK be­lieves Westminste­r’s in charge of lock­down’

Western Mail - - CORONAVIRU­S -

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.”

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