By Daniel Hunter

More than one in four adults currently claiming benefits say they have hidden this from others because of what people will think, a poll reveals.

The figure rises to almost half for 16-24 year-olds. The findings come on the back of the recent British Social Attitudes survey which showed a softening of public attitudes towards benefits and unemployment.

The poll of 1,955 adults was carried out as part of the new Who Benefits? campaign — an initiative from The Children’s Society, Crisis, Gingerbread, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind.

It reveals overwhelming public support for the principle that benefits should be there for those who need them.

Four out of five agree that ‘benefits are an important safety net to support people when they need help’, while two in three agree that ‘we all benefit as a society when support from benefits is available for those that need it’.

More than seventy charities and community groups have joined forces to support the launch of Who Benefits?, aiming to give a voice to the millions of people supported by benefits at some point in their lives.

‘'Life is full of ups and downs, it can be unpredictable. But no one should go hungry because they lose their job or go into debt because they are on such a low wage. And it is reassuring to see that the public support this view,’’ said Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society.

“At a time when families up and down the country are feeling the squeeze, it is important — now more than ever — that society supports those in need. The overwhelming majority of people who get benefits really need them; whether they are working, looking for work or unable to work.”

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