Press Release – Recovery’s Concerns about the Future poll results

New poll shows that almost three out of four people (71%) are more concerned by the impact of lockdowns and restrictions than catching Covid-19


Released today, the results of Recovery’s ‘Concerns about the Future’ poll into public attitudes to lockdowns and restrictions which shows that far more people are concerned by the impact of lockdowns and restrictions than they are by the prospect of catching Covid-19. Fieldwork was conducted between 26-27 October.

Recovery’s Five Reasonable Demands call for the Government to act with more humanity and balance the need to tackle Covid-19 with the impact its policies are having on mental health, treatment for killer diseases like cancer, and the future for our young people. The poll results clearly show that the majority of the UK population shares these concerns and needs to see more balance in the Government’s response.

Those worried at the impact of lockdowns, fear and restrictions outnumber those most worried about Covid-19 by more than 2:1.

The headlines from the research are:

MAJOR FINDING: Almost three out of four adults in the UK (71%) are more concerned by the consequences of lockdown than catching Covid-19


  • Young people rank mental health as their top concern – an alarming finding following the figures from London Ambulance Service yesterday showing that suicide attempts requiring hospitalisation have more than doubled since 2015, with almost all the increase coming in the past year and the numbers rising fast.
  • Women also rank mental health as a top concern.
  • 18-24 year olds more concerned over having a job next year than catching Covid-19.
  • Almost a third of over 65s are worried over the suspension of cancer screening.
  • The impact on cancer screening is of universal concern for all groups.
  • Londoners more anxious about losing their jobs than any other region at nearly double the national average.
  • Private sector workers over twice as anxious about losing their jobs as a result of Covid-19.
  • Workers in the public sector have the highest anxiety over the mental health impact of Covid-19.
  • Covid-19 is the top concern for just 29%, despite all the terrifying headlines over recent months.
  • Those with the lowest levels of education are those most concerned by Covid-19.

There are stark variations amongst levels of concern in specific regions. The data suggests that attitudes may be influenced by local political leaders, with the North West amongst the least concerned following Andy Burnham’s strong stand against restrictions.

The poll asked:

Which one of the following statements concern you most?

  • Whether you will catch Covid-19
  • The mental health impact of lockdowns, fear, and loneliness
  • The suspension of cancer screening and some cancer treatments since March
  • Whether you will have a job next year
  • The impact of lockdowns and restrictions on children and young people.

You’ll notice that we put Covid-19 first in the list, a position which might be expected to boost its results, as we wanted to ensure that nothing was done to favour our perspective and the questions were of course designed with the benefit of expert polling insight to ensure that they were neutral.

The poll itself is extremely robust – by Yonder (formerly Populus) using a representative sample of 2000 UK adults drawn from a nationwide panel of 200,000.

The poll is the first of several to explore public support for Recovery’s campaign and its Five Reasonable Demands.

At its launch yesterday (29 10 20), Recovery announced that it is launching a programme of polling over the coming weeks that will investigate how public attitudes to lockdowns and restrictions are changing. Initially supportive, there is increasing evidence that the public mood has turned sharply and while some polling continues to show support for tough measures, others support the behavioural research and focus group data which suggests attitudes have shifted sharply.

Jon Dobinson, co-founder of Recovery, commented:

“We heard a powerful and heartfelt plea by Emma Kenny at our launch yesterday for the Government to act now before the exploding mental health crisis gets any worse. This poll shows that more and more people share our concerns about the terrible damage lockdowns, fear and restrictions are doing. The problems are huge in every age group, but it’s the young who are being hit hardest and worst of all, the evidence is growing that suicide rates are going through the roof. This poll shows that the public in general and young people in particular are very worried by this – but the Government and indeed the opposition seem determined to ignore the crisis they are fuelling.

“Every death is tragic, but it’s hard to think of anything worse than a young life cut short by suicide. That’s what the Covid-19 measures are doing to our children and young people. Why does the Government spend so much time producing terrifying figures for Covid-19 which it says are ‘not a prediction’ and so little time looking at the very real impact on mortality from other causes of its policies? One wonders what kind of nightmare figures would churn out of SAGE and Neil Ferguson’s dodgy steam-powered forecasting model if instead of endlessly making apparently baseless predictions about Covid-19 deaths, they instead turned their attention to the explosion in suicide.

 “Next week is Stress Awareness Week. It’s the perfect time for them to change tack and reverse the cruel and confused policies that are causing this appalling tragedy.”  




Recovery launched on Thursday 29th as a broad-based coalition of people from all walks of life, many different backgrounds and the spectrum of mainstream political views who are concerned about the effect the response to Covid-19 is having on all our lives.

Recovery calls for balance and moderation in our response to Covid-19, backed by a proper public debate, and a comprehensive public inquiry which looks at the impact Government policies have had on: Covid-19 mortality; other killer diseases like cancer; mental health; the economy; and the future for children and young people.

The campaign is backed by a wide range of high profile people, including senior Doctors and NHS staff, leading authorities in epidemiology and infectious diseases, mental health experts, entrepreneurs and leaders of business, sporting stars and world champions, TV celebrities and chefs, stars of the performing arts, bands and musicians.

It has specialist groups led by leading experts and household names looking at specific areas of concern, including:

  • Health – members include concerned NHS and other health workers;
  • Mental health – psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, youth and charity workers, and leaders in education
  • Arts and hospitality – performers, business owners, chefs, and others whose lives are directly affected by current policies.
  • Sports and fitness – sports stars, players, athletes, coaches, club staff, and fitness businesses.
  • Small and medium size enterprises – entrepreneurs, business leaders, founders, and managers.

Speakers at the launch included:

  • Lord Sumption
  • Professor Karol Sikora
  • Harvey Goldsmith CBE
  • Sir Rocco Forte
  • Joe Le Groove
  • Maya Stone (care worker and record label owner)
  • Zoe Clews (leading specialist in post-traumatic stress)

And three Recovery Co-founders:

  • Emma Kenny MBPsS, MBACP, TV presenter, psychologist and broadcaster
  • Alan Miller, former Trustee, Night-Tine Industries Association (a sector worth £70bn)
  • Jon Dobinson, former Secretary-General, International Society for Human Rights (UK) – global UN-affiliated human rights organisation.

Jon Dobinson is CEO and founder of other (Other Creative Ltd) the London-based creative business and a former Secretary-General of the International Society for Human Rights (UK). His companies have raised millions for charities and causes including Freedom From Torture, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and 38 Degrees.

Recovery has 15 co-founders. We currently withhold names of those who work with the NHS or Government, (eg, a co-founder is a senior NHS Consultant), are current job seekers or vulnerable people.

The public co-founders include:

  • Steve Hyde
  • Emma Kenny *
  • Jon Dobinson
  • Alan Miller
  • Adam Whipps
  • Neil Shah
  • Kate Slater
  • Grant Mercer
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