Britons "have an appetite for a slower life" after lockdown - think tank chief

13 July 2020, 15:13 | Updated: 13 July 2020, 15:25

By Seán Hickey

As the nation begins to reemerge from lockdown, studies have shown that Britons don't want to return to the society we left behind.

Ben Shimshon is a Co-founder of think tank Britain Thinks who have released a study suggesting that only 12% of Brits are keen for the country to return to the way it operated before coronavirus. He told Shelagh Fogarty that his study monitored diaries written by participants and also 2,000 Brits across a range of demographics.

"Right now people are very nervous and the majority of people are very tentative as they take advantage of the new freedoms as lockdown starts to release" he admitted, "but they're also hopeful for some long term changes in the way our country and society works."

Mr Shimshon told Shelagh that his team asked participants what they would like to see being implemented or continued post-lockdown. They found that people wanted our lives to continue being less busy, "we have an environmentally friendly recovery from this virus, that we're kinder and more generous to each other."

His team discovered that "people would like to see more of that way of life or that sense of community spirit that emerged in the early days of lockdown" moreso than a return to normal.

"Very few people selected the option that life should just return back to normal as it was before, only 12% chose that as one of their top three reasons."

Mr Shimshon told Shelagh that the public don't want the UK to return to normal
Mr Shimshon told Shelagh that the public don't want the UK to return to normal. Picture: PA

Shelagh wondered if people were calling for "big social change" in their findings or just looking for changes in their own life. Mr Shimshon told her that "people also have some real learnings from lockdown for their own personal lives."

He pointed out that lockdown has "been a time of spending more time with your family for a lot of people, of slowing down, being a little bit less with each day.

"We found that amongst our diaries and amongst the general public that people really have an appetite for a slightly slower way of life in the future and a bit more of a focus on the things that really matter."

In terms of whether people are optimistic about change actually coming about, Mr Shimshon revealed "there's a lot less of a belief that we actually will manage to make the changes that we're talking about now."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify