Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI, comments on the year ahead
The new decade is starting with a feeling of optimism. Globally 75% of people think 2020 will be better than 2019 and Britain is feeling a bit more optimistic too.
We are coming from 10 years of constrained public spending which has had an accumulative socio-economic effect and that is a challenge but we have a new Government with a large majority in theory willing to redress the balance.
The Government is promising to spend on transport infrastructure, on the NHS and housing and is also promising to try and level-up the regions that have been suffering economically compared to London in the South East.
All could be good for the property industry, opening up new opportunities across the country, particularly with big-ticket infrastructure projects.
However, we are light on detail as to how these promises will be carried out. Will there be more devolution to the regions or more Government departments moving out of London, for example?
The budget on 11 March could provide a clue to the direction of travel, how the machinery of Government might work, who will be in the cabinet, which departments are abolished and which might be moved.
Another shift in sentiment which will shape 2020 and beyond is the changing attitude towards the climate emergency.
Every three years we do a global study and the number of people who think we are heading for disaster unless there is a rapid change to our habits has risen from 53% in the previous survey to 78% in our most recent. Among the younger generation that percentage is even higher.
Three times more people are saying their investment decisions will now be affected by climate considerations and the ethical behaviour of businesses they are investing in. It is still a small number but it is growing and will be an increasingly important factor in shaping the business landscape.
One positive about climate change is that it is uniting people, regardless of background and culture. And while indicators may show that we think society is broken, the bottom line is that things are probably better and not as bad as we think they are.