Western Mail

‘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.”

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