Steep rise in number of people buying less, opposition to independence hardens
Nearly three in four people in Bermuda are going without, or buying less owing to the cost-of-living crisis, a survey has found.
Also, more than 80 per cent of residents oppose independence for the island, according to the Narrative Research Bermuda poll.
The study found that 71 per cent of people in Bermuda had gone without or cut down on expenditure during the past three months — a sharp rise from 56 per cent recorded last June.
The number of people growing their food has also risen by almost half in the same period — to 28 per cent, up from 20 per cent.
Buying second-hand goods and trading with others has also seen a climb to 22 per cent from 18 per cent.
There has been a sharp drop in buying local when possible with figures down from 41 per cent to 32 per cent
The number of Bermudians buying in bulk also dropped to 22 per cent from 28 per cent, the research showed.
Just 9 per cent of people said they had not made any changes to their purchasing behaviour over the past three months, marking a fall from 11 per cent in the summer.
The report stated: “A growing majority of residents have been going without and buying less as a result of recent inflation and rising prices.
“Buying local and buying in bulk are down from when asked previously. It can be inferred that spending is down overall, therefore residents may be trying to save money by avoiding purchases more generally.”
Referring to the rise in home-grown produce, the study said: “Across demographics, women, those under the age of 35, those with household incomes under $75,000, and Bermudians are more likely to have started growing their own food.
“Across parishes, those in Sandys/Southampton more commonly indicate growing their own food, while those in Pembroke/Devonshire are more likely to report buying local when possible.”
Regarding the growth in second-hand purchases and trading for goods, the report said: “Women, those with a household income of $150,000 or less, Bermudians and White residents are now more likely to buy second-hand or trade with others compared to their respective counterparts.”
Bermudians were more likely to be buying less, shopping local and making bulk purchases than non-Bermudians, the research found.
The research also suggested a hardening of attitudes against independence.
In a sharp increase since the question was last posed in September 2019, 83 per cent now oppose sovereignty, up from 71 per cent then, according to the study.
Just 10 per cent support independence, down from 23 per cent.
This comes in the wake of David Burt using a visit to London for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September to insist that Bermuda’s “next step” was sovereignty.
Ministers also secretly commissioned a report on self-governance which cost taxpayers $50,000 and was only revealed at the Throne Speech in November before being made public in December.
The survey found that 70 per cent of people questioned completely opposed sovereignty, while 13 per cent mostly opposed it.
Just 3 per cent of people said they completely supported independence, with 7 per cent stating they mostly supported it. A further 7 per cent were unsure on the issue.
The report stated: “Most Bermuda residents continue to oppose Bermuda becoming a sovereign state, with the strength of opposition growing recently.
“Recently, David Burt has made numerous public comments about the possibility of Bermuda becoming a sovereign state.
“There has consistently been a majority of the population that oppose Bermuda as a sovereign state. However, these recent results represent an increase in opposition, particularly those who completely oppose such a move.
“Across demographics, opposition decreases somewhat with age. At the same time, opposition is greater among White residents, wherein 95 per cent indicate they are either mostly opposed or completely opposed.
“Those with household incomes over $75,000 more commonly report being completely opposed compared with those with lower incomes.”
While visiting Britain last autumn, the Premier told the BBC: “Our next step is certainly to be a sovereign state and whatever form that sovereignty takes will be a matter for discussion on another day but today was a day to reflect on the Queen’s life and service.”
The One Bermuda Alliance has previously accused the Government of pushing through the Cannabis Licensing Bill aimed at legalising the consumption and production of the drug in the knowledge London would veto the measure.
The OBA said the Progressive Labour Party used the situation to increase friction with Britain in order to try and boost support for independence.
The online survey questioned 219 adult residents of Bermuda between November 21 and December 6 last year.
The questions were posed by Narrative Research Bermuda and not commissioned by an outside party.
• Survey results can be found under Related Media