As well as the figures from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll there is also a new ICM poll out today, the first monthly ICM/Guardian poll since the election. Topline figures with changes from ICM’s last poll are CON 39%(+1), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 21%(nc)…exactly the same as the latest YouGov figures. 59% of people approve of the coalition between the Conservatives and Lib Dems, with 32% opposed.

There was also a question on PR – 56% of people said they supported a more proportional electoral system, 38% were opposed.


670 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – 39/32/21”

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  1. @Dunkhan – the % went up for Con/Lib but their actual votes fell due to the much lower turnout. UKIP was the only party to actually see their vote rise, and compared to 2005 the rise was substantial.
    We can’t draw any meaningful parrallels from this, but were UKIP to double it’s vote share in 2015 it would have a huge impact on the election.

    @ John Fletcher – I understand your point and have some sympathy. However, I would point out work related illness, occupational hazards, the risk of accident commuting, the opportunity cost of spending 40 hours a week at a workplace etc. There is risk involved in labour, but more crucially there is also effort, and lots of it. The fact that there is a higher threshold for CGT than for Income tax/NI is probably a sufficient reward for the risk factor.

  2. An observation on mortgage interest tax relief: the cost of this had spiralled massively. Thus, it became an obvious target to achieve increased tax revenues.

    The same applies to tax relief on pension contributions. This is costing huge amounts, so the first move was to restrict it to those who would be liable to the higher rate of tax. Reducing to the tax relief to basic rate would also efectivelty increase tax revenue. The idea has been around for many years – perhaps its time has come. It can be presented as a fair measure.

    Income tax (and particularly the collection system known as PAYE) is very effective and very cheap (to HMRC) to administer. And the effect of chanegs to tax rates is felt very quickly, and cannot be easily circumvented.

  3. @Mike N – I would agree. A system designed from scratch would simply not spend billions on assistance for the well off at the expense of the poorest. I’m sure this change will happen in due course, but there lots of vested interests lined up against it.

    I also feel NI is a bit of an anachronism. Why do low/middle earners pay the highest rates? It’s effectively income tax by another name, so apply it equally (or graduated) throughout the entire earnings range and reduce tax on the lower levels.

  4. @Mike N, Alec,

    Surely the fairest form of tax is on income and not lifestyle or business choices.

    I query VAT, NI, Inheritance, Stamp Duty, etc. etc.

    A flat rate of c.40% on income would solve an awful lot of trouble.. with a 13-4K threshold.

  5. Alec
    Not sure what you mean by “…pay the highest rates” of NI.

    There is only one rate of employee (‘primary’ is the offical name) NICs. This is the standard rate of 11%. There are contracted out rebates for those in their employer’s occupational contracted out pension scheme (salary related or money purchase, typically).

    The primary NICs are due on earnings above the primary earnings threshold (£476 monthly) up to the upper earnings limit (£5715 monthly). Above the UEL there is the additional 1% rate (which will increase to 2% in April 2011.) The NICs raised by this 1% rate go to the NHS.

    There are some variations, e.g. a reduced primary rate for certain married women or widows, but there only some 50,000 or so of these now.

    The system has other complications, which arise because of the historical link with contributory benefits and in particular the basic and additional state pensions.

    I agree NI is a tax by another name. There has been consistent pressure from many organsiations over the years to merge income tax and NI but the case against this has always persuaded government not to do it.

    NI is a complex ‘tax’ alrready. An industry has grown up in the UK on how to avoid/mitigate liability. Further complications are IMO unwelcome and should be resisted.

  6. @ Eoin – “Surely the fairest form of tax is on income and not lifestyle or business choices.”

    I’m curious as to why you think this is fairer. Personally I’d like to see lower income tax and higher VAT on non-essentials. That way, I have much more control over my own finances – it gives me more room to tighten my belt, if I need to, because cutting my spending will have a bigger effect on reducing my tax burden as well.

    A VAT rise doesn’t have to adversely affect the poor provided essentials are exempted (eg, I’d like to see zero VAT on household fuel). It may take longer to save up for that plasma TV but so what.

  7. James,

    Imagine you are 18 and unemployed.

    You receive £50 per week.

    Zero income tax.

    But with 17.5% VAT you already money.. IF you consume any of the things that are taxed at a higher rate- petrol for example (travelling to job interviews) etc. Then you pay even more tax. All of the other duties eg. the Green taxs etc.. affect you in equal amount to a billionaire.

    If these taxes were removed and we simply calculated an overall burden % (the OECD calculates 40.7%) And then applied that to those who can afford to pay it (at a graduated rate if need be) It strikes me as fairer…

    If someone wants to invest or profiteer by shares, savings, bricks and mortar it seems nosensical..

    In the parable of the talents the guy who buried his inheritance did not please god the most… So why tax someone for trying to better their lot…

  8. Eoin
    Your suggestion sounds attractive.

  9. Thankyou Mike- I had expected a much more hostile response :)

  10. Re CGT – Not really John Fletcher, it’s money for old rope, is what it is.
    A lot of the money speculated on the stock market is far from hard earned pennies and our trader friends laugh out loud at the ease with which they manipulate the markets and haul in cash for nothing.
    Our cerebral arguments on here won’t change the fat that CGT has been the most enormous loophole and encouragement to gamble, not just a salve to “hard earned savings”

  11. Eoin
    You suggestions sounds attractive, but it will never ever happen. you know that? :-)

  12. @Mike N,

    Ci Certo :)

  13. @EOIN

    I’m unconvinced of the significance of the jump. I used to live in this constituency way back: http://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Epping_Forest_ (UK_Parliament_constituency) – where there was nearly a doubling in the UKIP vote before the coalition. I’m also not hugely convinced that the results of the Liberal party are significant either.

    It’s hardly a bad result for them but this is in a seat where they had a councilor, more publicity than usual and fewer left wing parties to compete with than in most of the other places they ran. I’m also not sure that 10% is excessively high for minor parties – in one of the other seats the Liberals contested minor parties got about 13% of the vote (somewhere in Liverpool), in Exeter they got around 9% combined.

    http://www. liberal.org.uk/elections/2010/ index.html

    Obviously these are good results for both of these parties but I don’t think they’re so abnormal that you can really draw many conclusions about how this affects the coalition from this seat.

    @ALEC

    Point taken regarding votes vs vote share. I’d agree that doubling of the UKIP vote share would make a big impact but I’m not at all sure it’s even possible. T&M is the kind of place where you would expect UKIP to be able to make big gains from right-wing Tories (lots of Tories about, seat not marginal to a left-wing party and the seat is English) and they got a publicity boost here too which they wouldn’t get in most seats. I doubt this swing could be replicated across the country.

    Besides which even though this result is good I still can’t see it being worth a MP risking his career on switching to them. I could expect lots of threats and bluster but I would be surprised if many MPs did actually defect – though I could see one or two doing so (as a defection to UKIP has happened before).

  14. I have absolutely no problem with people paying a lot more CGT- there’s a perfectly reasonable annual allowance which copes with the needs of most ordinary people who haven’t got a hope of owning a second house or building up a large share portfolio

    Taxes should be higher generally and a temporary income tax surcharge is the way to go. The general chatter about our public services is that they are in-efficient and over-staffed but the evidence for this is always expressed in a nebulous and imprecise manner. I remember talking to some local government officials in Denmark a few years back and whilst they felt their taxes were high they appreciated the fact that they had excellent health care, small class sizes, proper care for the elderly and, interestingly, wonderful street cleaning services.

  15. Simon Hughes running for Deputy leader of LDs yeeehaaaa :)

  16. @ Eoin – I don’t have a problem with your hypothetical 18 yr old having to pay VAT on non-essentials. And isn’t it duty rather than VAT that’s charged (at astronomical rates) on petrol? And an unemployed 18 year old with his own car?!!! I’m supposed to subsidise this guy?

    “Fair” is a highly subjective concept. Personally I don’t think it’s “fair” that workers pay high levels of tax so that benefit recipients can afford plasma TVs and PlayStations. I support a welfare system that provides everyone in need with sound essentials and a little bit over for a pint or two. But beyond that – top it up with VAT on non-essentials, not by bleeding workers dry/

  17. @ Sue M

    it’s money for old rope
    __________________________________________

    I don’t think you would say that if you spent the hours I do in research etc to try to maximise the returns on my investments, nor what has happend to the overall value of them in the last two years .

  18. James,

    I respect your opinion. Let me try an explain where I am coming from on this.

    If life chances were poor to begin with then the child’s aspiration will be poor. If that occurs in an inner-city area the child will be subject to gang culture and other vices long before he acquires the independance of thought to be a active citizen. The schools are that tough to teach in (I taught in one) that the best teachers go elsewhere. The absense of a strong family home life in all probability lends itslef to malnutrition such as protein deficincy. In terms of elecution or etiquette the young lad is practically unemployable. Added to that in temrs of CV preparation, job experience or interviewing techniques he is also most likely deificient. Ownership of a car for these young men is a way to state their maniless, to ‘pull’ the local ladies. To feel like they are achieving (allbeit is arather obscure way). The inter-meshed issues in temrs of high suucide risk or depression added to low life expectancy renders this very very sad cases indeed. £50 per week is £2600 per year. It is not a lot of money.

    To tax that to the tune of £500-600 per year is a tax burden of c.20% for these young men.

    I am terrified of them, I find it uncomfortable to be in their vicinity. I sympathise with anyone who has to live near them. He is all probability will have a plasma tv/ playstation (he he acquired it is anyone’s guess) but it is better him indoors on that contraption than running the streets.

  19. James,

    Sorry for the typos (I am redrafting a chapter and my head is frazzled)

  20. The usual suspects can wail and whine about the wrongness of the Confederation of Dunces and its short potential life, but the hard right true blue North Yorkies seem to like it. In answer to one or two of the “if its Tory its wrong group” who have posted recently, IMPO, Cameron is now personally very strong indeed and is well placed to put the BBC in their place when he wants to, amoung other more important things. There is very clearly a large, very large, level of support for this Lib/Con enterprise and Labour supporters and politicians have a long hard road unwinding towards the land of their dreams.

  21. Eoin

    I agree with your post at 11.42am.

    I have long held the view that part of my taxes goes towards providing those less fortunate to live just above poverty so that their individual and cumulative actions and behaviour do not threaten the existence and life of my family. My conscience lets me sleep at night too.

    Of course there’s a balance to be struck.

  22. @ Eoin

    I am terrified of them, I find it uncomfortable to be in their vicinity.
    __________________________________________

    These are the descendents of the men of whom Wellington said “I don’t know what they do to the enemy, but by God they scare me”.

    It strikes me, though I am sure you are more knowledgable about this, that there has always been a problem in the cities with “young men”.

    Even back as far as the middle ages here in the City of London they were enacting laws to prevent the “apprentices” running wild.

    There may have been a halcyon age in the first part of the 20th century, when for various reasons there was more cohesion and less trouble, but this IMO was not the norm.

    I honestly do not think that changing the rate if VAT will affect their behavior one way or the other.

  23. MIKE N, EOIN, JOHN FLETCHER,
    Your posts above interest me no end and I think we are a right old mix politically. The Young Man issue is a real one, someone quotes the Iron Duke, another mentions the London apprentices whose “football matches” always ended with death and serious injury in the middle ages. These things have not fundermentally changed and as an ex army officer I can tell you that the English and Scottish soccer yobo is certainly not an invention of the late 20th century, and although there appears to be no innate cruelty in most young British men, they are very persistant when angry. Without wishing to start any debate with racial overtones, I have to add that I remain deeply relieved that tensions have not boiled over as they might have done.

  24. John,

    Perchance the youth in early C20 were subdued by virtue of slaughter ?

    The million deaths in WWI were almost entirely among males aged 16-25 – unlike the more varied casualties during WWII.

    Somewhat sobers the rest of them.

  25. @ Paul H-J

    Somewhat sobers the rest of them.
    _________________________________________

    And puts some of our current difficulties into perspective.

    @ RolandH

    ex army officer
    _________________________________________

    I to served and I am sure we can both agree that a career in the armed forces saved many a young man from a wasted life.

    What disturbs me now is the number of them that find their way into prison after leaving the Army.

  26. John,

    On the Beeb they have this graphic of deaths in Afghanistan. We are approaching 300, but have been at war for nearly a decade.

    I have a vivid recollection as a child of a Time Magazine report of a battle in Vietnam in which more US soldiers were killed in a single day than UK losses in Afghanistan (or Iraq).

    Not wishing to minimise the personal tragedy of each death, but you are right on perspective. Our society has some strange values and widespread lack of understanding of context.

  27. John F
    It was ever so for traumatised soldiers. When I was a boy (late 40s early 1950s) the central park in Bristol was full of winos and it’s the same now for many ex-soldiers. The prisons are also full of them.

    So the forces only work, if you manage to escape the fate of those who are so traumatised by action or other events. I read a recent officer’s report that he gets many from the sink estates who join in desperation to get away from that particular hell hole. Often it’s the second born who observes what is happening to his older sibling. Sometimes, it ends up jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

  28. Eoin,

    I posted to Richard O about benefit culture, and how it has been an achievement of the Labour govt to ensure that unemployable people are not to a large extent hungry, on the streets and looking for money. It is pragmatic to recognise that a proportion of the population will be economically inactive. Also questioned how many businesses will welcome the opportunity to give space to unwilling, unfit, and possibly severely depressed people in a workplace that is too often pressurised and a bullying environment.
    Witch-hunting seems to have its origins in changing work practices and property relations, whereby when the support/respect towards marginalised women in the community became outmoded, the feeling of responsibilty/community was transmuted into ostracism/vicimisation.

  29. Paul H-J

    A few weeks ago there was coverage of the Korean war, with details of the numbers of UK soldiers killed. I don’t remember the figures.

    It’s a forgotten war. But the UK’s casualties there massively exceed those in Afghanistan.

  30. @ Eoin – yes, I understand and sympathise with the logic of your argument above. However, this seems to me more of a short term, sticking plaster type approach because it’s this very demographic that’s growing most rapidly, and we’ve moved into the territory of three generations never having worked. I don’t have any magic answers to this problem but I’m of the opinion that perpetuating this status quo is just storing up worse trouble for the future.

    Someone mentioned Denmark above – a country often cited as a shining example of a high tax, high benefits society. But a few years ago Denmark found itself with a significant economic problem – one third of its population economically productive and the other two thirds basically dependent on benefits (this group obviously includes children, the elderly etc, not just the unemployed). That’s not a sustainable situation, and there was a significant problem with young people choosing to play the system rather than get jobs, so it rather dramatically reduced benefits for some State-dependent groups. It was controversial at the time but the right thing to do – clearly there’s a limit to how many economically unproductive people can be supported by those who work, and to what level.

  31. Mike N
    Not forgotten by me. The Gloucesters were based in Bristol . See Imjin River.

    Indeed, I wonder if some of the poor sods I referred to just now could have been some of them?

  32. @Billy B, Roland, John F, Mike N,

    It is quite reassuring to note the braod spectrum of agreement.

    Billy B makes an excellent point. Some of these young men need a severe rehabilitation programme before they are even fit for work.. Elocution, eitquette, code of behaviour (in short they need reared).

    _________________________________

    I wonder what you all think of the idea of a comprehensive school boarding system. Poor children from broken homes would have to earn their place in them… through good behaviour and effort…

    Some of the parents may welcome the respite and the children could experience the range of cultural and social experiences that wealthier children do.

    I taught in a boarding school. It has its drawbacks for the children but provided there are weekend breaks with the parent/guardian and they have holiday recesses periodically, it might be a good place to rehabilitate these children earlier.
    _____________________________________

    I know a man who ran a borstal in Millisle in the 1970s. He still has fully grown men track him down and thank him for rehabilitating them. Metalwook/woodwork etc… they managed to gain trades and build a sense of self esteem.

    ___________________________________

    I accpet this is an unsavoury topic, especially for lefties to ddeal with. But once th eproblem exists we cant undo it. When we invited afro-Carribeans here in the 1950s the mistakes were probably made then with segregated housing and poor assimilation programmes. I suggest my idea simply as a process of beginning to correct some of these children’s misfortunes as well as the many more indigenous ‘white-working-classes’ difficulties. I myslef think working class is the wrong label. I prefer to call them the under-classes.

  33. “THIRSK AND MALTON

    Conservative – 20,167 – (52.87%)
    Liberal Democrat – 8,886 – (23.30%)
    Labour – 5,169 – (13.55%)
    UKIP – 2,502 – (6.56%)
    Liberal – 1,418 – (3.72%)”

    The Tory vote in this seat went as I predicted a few weeks ago.

    I had a strong inkling that it would go this way because the parallels with my own constituency were (and are) striking. The majority (and proportion of vote) before and after this GE were/are virtually identical. That is why I was able to predict a small increase in the Tory vote, and a Tory vote of circa 53%. :)

    Nothing surprising about this result at all, it seems. :)

  34. My own slightly off the wall advice for those wishing to reduce the numbers economically inactive: Look again at the working practices in an era of full employment like the sixties. High levels of job security, the unacknowledged pastoral role undertaken within a highly unionised workforce. Strict demarcation. Nice long de-stressing tea breaks. Some cushy slightly undemanding jobs on offer.
    Lets face it, we are dealing with human nature here, not everyone is workaholic/profit driven or able to survive within such a culture. If you want an economic model where these people are excluded then higher productivity and profits are possible for the entrepreneur class.

  35. @Eoin,

    I agree. A lot of young people need structure and strong discipline – something that is sadly lacking in so many of their lives. Until this is properly addressed, social problems will continue to blight the lives of everyone.

  36. Roland – I admire your support for the coalition, but Cameron is IMO very far indeed from “personally strong”

    This is the honeymoon, such as it is, and there is broad optimism, but it is incredibly guarded. The polls show very many indeed reserving judgement. He has no majority and some very uncomfortable backbenchers. Not a few, but over 100.

    Certainly, the coalition has made him temporarily stronger and I agree with your earlier posts that he probably prefers this to a minority government, but it really isn’t “anything but Tory” to wonder why he would attack his own backbench when he has no majority.

    If this coalition DOES last it will go against all precedent. If the Libs and Tories trot on contentedly together for five whole years, it will require a degree of both Stepford-ism and lack of ego never before seen in British politics.

    Good luck to ’em but let’s not get too carried away. ;)

  37. “A return to National Service would be a very socialist policy” Expand and discuss lol

  38. @Sue,

    “A return to National Service would be a very socialist policy”

    It’s neither left (i.e. socialist), nor right wing. It can be either, but is probably more likely to be favoured by those who hold more right wing views IMO. ;)

    I’m not personally in favour of compulsory National Service. I would have hated it myself, and why should the well-behaved youngsters (like I was, not too long ago) be forced to do something they don’t want to just because some families/youngsters are dysfunctional? Surely it’s up to society to focus on the dysfunctional element, and try to eradicate it through social policy?

    “Certainly, the coalition has made him temporarily stronger and I agree with your earlier posts that he probably prefers this to a minority government, but it really isn’t “anything but Tory” to wonder why he would attack his own backbench when he has no majority.”

    Or a small Tory majority. ;)

  39. @SUE MARSH
    The Tory back benchers who wish to rear up everytime a Liberal idea comes to the fore, need to be replaced in their box quickly. As I said the other day, we did not win outright, like it or lump it the Liberals are part of the deal. What would these people prefer, the Rainbow Rag Tag & Bobtail government that those champions of democracy Campbell and Mandelson were trying to flog ? Cameron is now very strong, would the Liberals work with John Redwood, and how long would a Tory minority government last? Cameron and Clegg have the people onside, their parties must go along with it.
    Let me be clear, David Davis as PM with a Tory majority of 180 would suit me fine, as would a return of the death penalty, however back in the real world this is our best shot.

  40. National Service? Don’t make me laugh. Why stop those who can going to University? Why stop those who can get jobs going into jobs? As well, the army has lost a lot of credence now they are in legally dubious wars.

    The only reason it worked in the 1950s was that there was already the army barracks available and nothing else to do.

    So we really want to waste another year of people’s lives before they become economically useful to society?

    Those who go on about National Service don’t understand that the few who would benefit from a more formal structure are those who wouldn’t do it; they’d be in jail etc. And the rest of the normal sane young adults would be penalised for the old fuddy duddys reliving their 1950s golden youth…

    And, by the time they went on National Service it’s all to late; the dysfunctional families which create nasty types have already had their impact. My wife works in a school for those permanently excluded from normal secondary schools; one needs more work work with the dysfunctional estates, not rubbish National Service.

    (My answer would involve banning the building of any new estate of one social class–al would have to have range of housing in it. In Australia there are no ‘estates’ as we have them; social housing is scattered throughout all communities. And kids go to their local schools…)

  41. See, I’m all in favour of it Matt. I think it would provide job training and discipline for those less privileged and a vital eye opener to those more privileged. A chance for all young people to come together on a level playing field, regardless of class, wealth or intellect.
    I’m sure Roland and John F would have many a story about camaraderie built between the most unlikely recruits and one could also argue that it would do no harm for men such as yourself to do a bit for their country before setting off on life’s path!! ;)

  42. The tory rump does need to remember that they were not voted into power, merely that Labour was voted out.

    The key is simple- Blair (much as I hate him) won the centre ground and so had a decade in power. The coalition represents the centre grounds. Hold it and many good things are possible. Squeal about things like repealing the hunting ban and lose the centre (and power)…

    But can the tory rightwingers understand?

  43. ‘SUE MARSH
    See, I’m all in favour of it Matt. I think it would provide job training and discipline for those less privileged and a vital eye opener to those more privileged. A chance for all young people to come together on a level playing field, regardless of class, wealth or intellect’

    AAh, now I see- you are after a sensible comprehensive school policy. What a good idea…

    Seriously, dysfunctionality is established well before anything National Service would deal with. All you’d is punish those already able to move on. The vast majority of young adults are fine, so why they should they be penalised by not entering further education or by delaying getting a job. It’s a nutty idea.

  44. @Sue,

    I’m all against it because I see it as another way of taking the freedom away from responsible youngsters, and punishing them for the actions of dysfunctional (and disruptive) ones.

    I’m all for personal freedom, especially if you have done nothing wrong (i.e. are responsible). ;)

  45. @Jack,

    “Seriously, dysfunctionality is established well before anything National Service would deal with. All you’d is punish those already able to move on. The vast majority of young adults are fine, so why they should they be penalised by not entering further education or by delaying getting a job. It’s a nutty idea.”

    I totally agree. As if getting a job for youngsters today isn’t hard enough…..

  46. Then, of course, the well-behaved youngsters would have to work alongside the dysfunctional ones. I can only imagine the kind of bullying that would go on, in many cases.

    A large part of the solution is giving teachers back more powers to discipline IMO. That, and focusing on family policy and employment/training schemes.

  47. Of course, the ‘human rights culture’ will ensure that increasing powers of discipline is never even a remote possibility.

  48. Almost everybody in Israel spends some time in the army. This continues throughout much of their working life.

    Do not recommend for young/ old, male/ female, something that you would not want for yourself, IMO.

    If there is to be ‘National Service’ then all should serve.

  49. As almost all posts are OT…I’ve just opened an email about a press reelase regarding the effect of an increase in VAT rate on employment levels. Here’s an extract:

    “There are significant effects on employment associated with changes in VAT, according to HR recruiter Ortus. These can be estimated in several ways: in more sophisticated methods, using economic modelling, a 1.0 per cent increase in the average VAT rate in the Netherlands led to a loss of 20,000 jobs – approximately 0.3 per cent of the Dutch workforce (7,750,000 people).
    The Ortus forecast suggests an increase from 17.5 per cent to 20.0 per cent in the UK could cost the country approximately 201,000 jobs as the increase in VAT is not only much higher, but we have a much larger workforce (more than 31.2 million people). “

  50. @Amber,

    “Do not recommend for young/ old, male/ female, something that you would not want for yourself, IMO.

    If there is to be ‘National Service’ then all should serve.”

    Yes, I agree. That is partly why I personally am against it. ;)

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