This paper examines the role of individual and household characteristics in explaining patterns of support for higher public spending on seven of the most important public spending programmes including health, education, the police and defence. Different groups in the population, such as the elderly, those who are highly educated, and those who support particular political parties, tend to support distinctive types of spending. There is some evidence that use of private alternatives to public services reduces support for higher state spending in the fields of health care and transport, although no evidence is found that this is true for education. There is a fair degree of consonance between the factors affecting support for higher spending which individuals perceive as being in their own interest and that which they support as being in the interests of the country as a whole. Those differences that are found appear readily explicable. The association between having children in the household and supporting higher spending on education, for instance, is far stronger in the case of private interests than for the country as a whole. Personal use of private sector alternatives also appears to have less impact on perceptions of the national interest in expanded public provision than on perceptions of self interest. There is some evidence that individuals tend to express a greater degree of support for those benefits for which they might or do qualify themselves. Some groups, such as better-off households and Conservative supporters, are clearly more hostile than others to spending on social security spending generally.