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Forty-eight percent said that in most cases they had sympathy for people going on strike against public spending cuts.

The same percentage disagreed that it is better to let government borrowing go on rising than to allow more youth unemployment, with 22 percent agreeing.

Britain’s economic outlook darkened Wednesday after data showing 1 million youngsters out of work for the first time and as the Bank of England slashed its growth forecasts, fearing more eurozone woe.

The total number of jobless jumped by 129,000 to a 17-year high of 2.62 million, a 15-year peak of 8.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the economy now is expected to grow by no more than 1 percent in 2011 and 2012.

From wire dispatches and staff reports