What does the UK think is right and wrong? The BBC reveals a snapshot of morality in 2019
The BBC today reveals the findings of a major new survey exploring the moral framework of the UK in 2019 offering an Faithful connections
unprecedented insight into the morals and values of the British population. The nationwide survey of 3,655 adults aged 16+ was conducted by ComRes as part of the BBC’s Year Of Beliefs.
Respondents were asked to answer questions on their values and morals and their attitudes to a range of issues including relationships, work, the environment, consumer ethics and life and death.
The survey suggests that while 70% of adults agree it’s important for people to have a moral framework in their lives, what people believe to be right or wrong differs greatly. The findings indicate that age is most likely to define people’s morality with marked differences in attitudes to the issues across the generations.
The subject on which the UK is most united is infidelity – with 83% of adults feeling a significant responsibility to be faithful to their partner.
Actually living by our values does seem to be a challenge. Despite most people having a strong sense of right and wrong (58%), behaviour doesn’t always live up to intentions – for example, three in five adults (60%) who say they have been unfaithful to their partner also say it is never acceptable to cheat.
In terms of behaviour, values and morals, people who say they are members of an organised religion are generally more likely to stick to their principles, with infidelity, for example, appearing to be lower amongst this group – 17% of those who describe themselves as belonging to a faith report being unfaithful compared to 23% of those who don’t.
Overall, the majority of adults in the UK believe in tolerance, with 69% of those surveyed saying people should be free to live their lives as they want, as long as that doesn’t harm others.
The BBC has created an interactive online tool for users to explore the results of the survey, which can be
Alison Kirkham, BBC Controller of Factual Commissioning, says: “The BBC’s Year Of Beliefs has explored and celebrated the multiple expressions of faith and belief in modern Britain and has examined a complex range of ethical issues affecting people’s lives. The findings of the morality survey are an important part of this, providing a snapshot of our ethics and values and what we really think about some of the most pressing issues of our time. With our age emerging as being most likely to define our morality, this survey gives a revealing insight into how different generations view hotly debated topics such as the environment, relationships and the online world.”