Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of British voters think the country is "moving in the wrong direction" economically, while a huge 93 per cent fear that their children's generation will be worse off, according to an international poll released ahead of next week's G20 summit of leading economies in Mexico.
Voters in the UK were gloomier than people elsewhere in the G20, where an average 58 per cent think their countries' economies are heading in the wrong direction.
Despite the crisis in the eurozone, voters across the EU had a less pessimistic view of the state of the economy, with 56 per cent saying their country was heading in the wrong direction and 65 per cent that future generations would be less wealthy than this one.
The study, commissioned by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), found that 49 per cent of Britons believe the threat of unemployment has gone up over the past two years, compared to 35 per cent in the G20 and 31 per cent in the EU.
Some 80 per cent of Britons thought that banks and financial institutions had too much influence over the Government's economic decisions, while 72 per cent said the same about large corporations - compared to 67 per cent and 65 per cent across the G20 as a whole. Just 30 per cent of those questioned in the UK said workers and unions had too much influence.
The poll showed strong support for protections for workers, including health and safety laws (backed by 94 per cent in the G20 and 96 per cent in the UK), a minimum wage (89 per cent in the G20, 94 per cent in the UK) and collective bargaining (86 per cent in the G20, 91 per cent in the UK).
ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said: "The democratic contract with voters is broken in many countries, and governments must pay heed to their people or we risk increasing political and economic instability.
"Global economic orthodoxy is widely rejected by the populace, and this upswell of anti-government and anti-austerity opinion across so many nations should cause urgent re-thinking at the global level.
"Given a choice of economic policies, two-thirds of people support government action to invest in job creation to allow economies to grow and pay off debts, compared with less than one in four who want debts paid off now by cutting back on government spending."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Two-thirds of people believe that future generations will be worse off than today - a telling indictment of the failure of global austerity measures."
Market research company TNS interviewed a total of 13,067 people in Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the UK and the USA in May.
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