London: Most Britons seem to be losing sympathy for the jobless as they feel that high unemployment benefits are discouraging those out of work from finding new career opportunities, a new study has found.

The British Social Attitudes survey found that 54 percent believed unemployment benefits were too high -- up from 35 percent in 1983 when the annual study was first carried out, a daily reported.

It also revealed that although people see child poverty as an issue the UK government must tackle, 63 percent of the 3,297 people questioned believed that parents who "don't want to work" were a reason why some children lived in poverty.

Support for rising taxes to fund public services has also weakened as has opposition to private health and schooling, says the survey by National Centre for Social Research.

It also revealed how people's lives are changing by the National Centre for Social Research showed that despite widespread concern over economic disparity, the public does not believe greater government intervention is justified.

Britons are increasingly looking to themselves for solutions to social problems rather than the government, the study found.

Seventy five per cent of those questioned agreed the income gap between rich and poor was too large yet only just over a third (35 percent) believed ministers should take steps to redistribute wealth.

Commenting on the results Penny Young, chief executive of the National Centre for Social Research, said: "In a time of economic austerity and social unrest, the big question coming out of this year's report is whether we really are in it together, or just in it for ourselves?"

(Agencies)