Behind the historic beauty of Plymouth, nearly a third of residents are worried about financial matters, according to an independent survey commissioned by the People United - a coalition of unions including Unite, GMB, PCS, CWU and Unison.
The findings are in a survey of 14 English towns and cities involved in this summer’s People United bus tour, which showed that while nearly half of Plymouth’s population were proud of their green spaces and natural beauty, 30 per cent said they were affected personally by financial-related issues, mainly the rising cost of living.
In the two categories – appreciation of its surroundings and worries about money – Plymouth came top of the 14 centres surveyed.
The People United bus, which arrives in Plymouth on Wednesday 26 June, will be offering advice and information on local campaigns between 16.00-19.00 parked next to Plymouth Guildhall. On board the bus will be trade union experts and community specialists to offer advice and information on problems in and out-of-work.
There will also be a ‘question time’ event at Plymouth Guildhall on Wednesday (26 June) between 19.00 – 21.00 to which the public are invited. The panel will include Alison Seabeck, MP for Plymouth Moor View and Brett Sparkes, Unite community coordinator (South West), and will be chaired by Clare Moody, Unite regional officer.
People United is also asking people to share their ideas to get the economy growing and help build the ‘People’s manifesto’ to change our country for the better.
Green spaces and natural beauty were, on average, the top positive response from all the cities and towns surveyed, but were most impressive in Plymouth, where 45 per cent said it was the thing they were most proud of.
The Hoe, a large open public space including a historic lighthouse and views over the sea, was mentioned by significant numbers as a particular source of local pride, as well as the nearby moors and the seafront.
Local history was also a source of pride (18 per cent), particularly the Barbican area of the city.
Transport was something people wanted to see improved – 18 per cent of people wanted the government to improve local roads and a further 14 per cent public transport; particularly bus routes. Sixteen per cent of people wanted improvements to shopping and the local economy; more than almost anywhere else.
The big downside was that 30 per cent said they were affected personally by financial-related issues - the highest of any place surveyed.
Unite regional officer Clare Moody said: “Residents in Plymouth are happy that they live in a city with such stunning surroundings, but the survey has picked up very large undercurrent of worries that people have about their financial situation.
“Because Plymouth relies on defence as a significant source of employment, the government’s continuing cuts in this area are causing alarm.
“This is not surprising given that that unemployment has jumped from 2.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent in the last five years. The coalition’s welfare cuts have hit 31,100 who receive child benefit and the bedroom tax has affected 2,100 in the city.
"People United will be in Plymouth to hear more about what people have to say about improving their city and their country. We will also be here to offer help and support to local communities. This is a fantastic opportunity to make your voice heard and to make a difference.
“We are asking people to share their ideas to get the economy growing and help build the People’s manifesto to change our country for the better."
Survation interviewed 1,451 UK adults by telephone on 3-14 June 2013 in Blackpool, Bristol, Coventry, Leicester, Hartlepool, Hastings, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Stoke-on-Trent. Data were weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+ in the relevant cities. Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
For further information, please contact the Unite press office on 0203 371 2065, Clare Moody on 07711 237 070 and/or or Unite regional community coordinator Brett Sparkes on 07702 874 585