British voters believe that an economic recovery is under way yet few are feeling the benefit, according to a Guardian/ICM poll that “shines a spotlight on the anxiety of a nation.”

Just 18% of voters – less than one in five – say their family is benefiting from the recovery, although 56% accept that the economy is indeed strengthening.

Only 20% of those surveyed agree the economic recovery is set to make the next generation better off.

42% believe that ruthless companies lie behind the nation’s economic anxiety, while 40% blame it on Labour mistakes and a further 38% on ‘rip-off’ banks refusing to fund firms.

Martin Boon, director of ICM Research, said:

“This shows that Britain isn’t out of the woods; that people have gripes about how the world of employment has now changed, how little things around the country that they cherish have changed, such as the character of the local pub, “Ten years ago immigration would have been in the second half of the top 10 of Britons’ list of concerns. Now it is in the top three.”

The chief worries about working life in Britain were sited as wages lagging behind living costs (57%), fear of redundancy (34%) and a lack of permanent job posts (29%).

The survey interviewed an online sample of 2,014 adults across the country and is part of a wider Guardian investigation into the mood of the nation, which will examine social, economic and cultural trends in towns and cities across the UK.

Photo by Vadim Timoshkin