Pubdate: Wed, 04 Dec 2002
Source: Eastern Daily Press (UK)
Copyright: 2002, Archant Regional
Author: Lorna Marsh


 From toll-booths to tolerance and cannabis to credit, research is out 
today revealing our values.

The annual British Social Attitudes survey throws up surprising results, 
including the support of more than eight in 10 people for tax increases to 
improve the NHS.

But the overwhelming verdict of our changing society is its rising 
tolerance towards minority groups and a liberal attitude to soft drugs.

Researchers predict that society is set to stay increasingly liberal, as 
older generations are replaced by younger ones who, it is anticipated, are 
unlikely to change their attitudes over time.

It is a change that has been happening for the last two decades.

In 1985, 70pc of those questioned thought homosexuality was wrong. Eighteen 
years later that figure is less than 50pc.

A quarter of people in Britain describe themselves as racially prejudiced, 
down from a third in 1985.

The survey also found that those who had been through higher education are 
less likely to be prejudiced and, as the number of those going to 
university increases, so discrimination will fall.

Younger people are also more tolerant to soft drug use, with more than half 
the population saying cannabis should be legal. But the survey concludes 
that even older people have become more liberal to marijuana use.

And although 87pc of those questioned thought that drugs like heroin should 
remain illegal, a third said two legal drugs were the most dangerous of all 
- - tobacco and alcohol.

A spokesman for the National Centre for Social Research, which carried out 
this year's study, said it was far cry from the days of illegal 
homosexuality, tobacco being regarded as a health tonic and marijuana being 
seen as a curse.
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