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Fears over state of economy grow

Anxiety about the state of Britain's economy has increased since the Government's spending review last month, according to a survey.

Some 53% of those questioned this week said they were more worried about the economy than they were three months ago, compared to just 9% who said they were less worried.

When the same question was asked in a similar poll before the October 20 review - which set out plans to slash £81 billion from state spending - just 42% said they were more worried about the economy than three months previously.

The ComRes survey for ITV News found a clear majority believe Government plans to allow tuition fees to rise to £9,000 a year will deter students from less wealthy backgrounds from going to university.

Some 70% agreed the higher fees - almost three times the current level - would deter poorer students, against just 17% who said they would not.

However, a majority of those questioned (64%) said students should share with everyone else in meeting the cost of restoring the public finances, compared to 22% who disagreed.

Almost half (48%) agreed benefit cuts planned by the Government were unfair and would "hit the poor and vulnerable disproportionately hard", while 35% disagreed.

Some 41% said they were more worried about social disorder now than they had been three months ago. However, this figure was virtually unchanged from a similar ITV News Cuts Index poll taken before last week's student protest, which saw a group of demonstrators cause damage to the Conservative Party HQ.

When asked whether too many people claim benefits they are not entitled to, 81% agreed and 7% disagreed.

:: ComRes interviewed 2,038 British adults online between November 12 and 14.

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