There is also a new ICM poll tonight, carried out for the Sunday Telegraph. The topline figures, with changes from ICM’s poll a week ago, are CON 41%(+2), LAB 35%(+4), LDEM 16%(-5). The figures are pretty much in line with those from YouGov tonight, with the Liberal Democrats pushed down into the mid teens while both the Conservatives and Labour are considerably up on their general election support.

The full tables don’t seem to be available yet, but the Sunday Telegraph report suggests similar findings to YouGov when it comes to the budget. 47% thought the budget would improve the economy, compared to 19% expecting it to make things worse. Once again, almost all the measures of the budget recieved majority support with the exception of the VAT rise, which ICM found 60% of people opposed (including 55% of remaining Liberal Democrat voters).

52% of people thought the cuts were necessary, 43% thought that it was tougher than necessary and the government were “using it as an excuse to introduce measures it had always wanted to”.

341 Responses to “ICM/Sunday Telegraph have Lib Dems down to 16%”

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  1. Not particularly wonderful article by John Rentoul in The IoS (Only Labour can save the coalition), but he does make the point that during the Blair years LDs were in many respects to the left of Labour.
    (Only if Labour abandons the centre ground can the coalition acheive a similar realignment of the political landscape.)
    (He is clearly not impressed by Ed M.)

    An interesting comment by tommfrom66 to the article mentions A Scargill falling into Ridley’s trap… which changed the working practices forever. (In a way his thinking illustrates why it will be so troubling for those on the left *not* to fall into the coalition’s trap.)

  2. Billy Bob

    “during the Blair years LDs were in many respects to the left of Labour.”

    That really wasn’t very difficult! :-)

  3. SUE MARSH – Yes it is true that the 2 Worthing seats are quite safe Conservative but if the new boundary rejig ends up with a single Worthing seat just based on Worthing wards ( it would be the right size ) then you would have a very marginal seat ( Conservative majority around 2,000 in 2010 ) .

  4. Billy B,

    Good Morning :)

    Who was Rentoul impressed with bearing in mind he has dethroned Toynbee/ M White as the column we pay any heed to?

  5. Morning all!

    Reading all these Libs justifying the rise in VAT as actually rather progressive reminds me of when the Tories stopped saying what a terrible fix we were in during the election campaign and suggested a good old fashioned tax give-away.

    Still, as long as the poor aren’t able to buy anything more than they need to survive you can almost wring an argument from it I suppose.

    To remind some : “The widely accepted definition of poverty is having an income which is less than 60% of the national average (excluding the wealthiest members of society). On this measure, the proportion of the UK population defined as in poverty is roughly one in five.”

    In 2010, I believed we had moved a little past poverty definitions as someone who can just about pay their rent and put food on the table?

  6. Morning Sue
    I watched Vince Cable on TV when the interviewer challenged him about having his photo taken sttod in front of the “Tory VAT Bombshell” poster. He denied it but there was no getting away from the U-turn and the abandonment of a solemn LD pledge.

    Then I watched several Tory MPs on TV moving the goalposts over their pledge to ringfence NHS spending. Lord Lawson said it was an unworkable promise. ( He forgot to say as much during the GE campaign).

    Stand by for another U-turn in the shape of NHS cuts. Some visible, many by the back door. The justification being that if we cut NHS spending then this will ease the cuts burden on other departments. Its all so cynical IMHO.

  7. Cozmo – NHS cuts are already happening by the bucketload. To be fair, they were under Labour. One trust alone that I know of is expected to cut 100 million in “Efficiency Savings”.

  8. I’ve always thought that “Relative Poverty” was a bit of a canard. Unless a country has an extremely narrow income distribution (achievable only through very direct Socialist government intervention) then relative poverty is an absolute given.

    I have to say I think there is a case for many VAT more progressive by introducing a higher band for true “luxuries” (expensive cars etc). But in general I think it is an extremely valuable tool. Easy to collect, hard to avoid, doesn’t contribute to the welfare trap etc.

    Certainly the vast majority of European countries seem to agree.

  9. Cozmo,

    NHS cuts- yes I have heard the blue benches clamouring for it…. I myself would have favoured a ring fence of education spending but I do not think that is what Nadine Dorries is campaigning for….

    I think reds may hope there is no election soon. It would be a blue majority. Middle England is enjoying the belt tightening. It seems and act of sado masochism but then what would I know, I am hardly a middle englander…

  10. So we have another poll with concrete support for juicy cuts that are required!

    The poll also shows the public strongly back George Osborne.

    What we are starting to see though, are the Torys heading for that magic 45% number (2 recent polls on 43)
    labour ain’t doing bad either, although they do tend to be overweighted by 2-3 % by most!

    We shall have to wait for a few more pollsbefore drawing any conclusions, however on current polls, it’s looking quite appaling for Liberals and Labour!

  11. Wayne,

    In the 2010 Labour were underweighted

    Blues in some cases were overweighted


  12. Eoin – Of course middle England are ready for a bit of belt tightening!! They had the slackest belts to begin with.

    They (most of my friends :( ) are positively salivating at the thought of their hard earned tax no longer supporting all those scroungers and immigrants (!!!) (I had that very conversation FOUR times this weekend with people who’s suburbs are so leafy they don’t see a black face from one month to the next!)

    Time for a bit of Tory!

  13. Morgen :)

    Eoin – ”the road to irrelevance set out by Ed M”… author of failed manifesto… free school meals for all… defending unthreatened winter fuel payments etc…

    A one pronged attack on ‘the younger Miliband’, mentions Balls only in connection with an attack on Cable (VAT). SH ‘grandstanding’ – a sign of the rebels weakness.

    “The lesson of ALP… too late for for our Labour party.”

    It will be interesting to see how the AUS election pans out ;)

  14. @Eoin
    ” act of sado masochism”
    Good morning. It seems that life can be a tad more exciting in NI than over here ? :)

    I believe you are probably right about middle-Englanders enjoying belt tightening. As it happens I am not completely against the rise in VAT, or NHS cuts, or any other cuts. What I am frothy about is saying one thing then doing the opposite, no matter which party is telling the porkies at the time. The solemn pledges during the election, which immediately turn out to be false and cynical promises.

  15. Sue Marsh. What is your opinion of scroungers? Do you believe the problem is negligible? Are you content in your own “leafy suburb” that the problem should be ignored? Do you think that those who pay their taxes really have no right to be concerned how their money is spent? As for immigrants, in your “leafy suburb”-as you say ,you do not have a problem. Perhaps your friends (?) are more concerned than you are for those who do.

  16. Looking at the latest round of council by-elections, the trend seems similar to this poll – both Lab & Con up, LDs down quite a bit. I accept that the evidence is not conclusive but it is interesting nonetheless.
    John Rentoul – knew him slightly at King’s College Cambridge – he clearly can’t see beyond his adulation of Tony Blair, bless him. But the country has moved on.
    Greetings to all, and a very warm good morning dear Sue & Amber.

  17. Collin – Well, as you ask, I think our problems are so serious, so important, that we really ought to be talking about ways we could cut the deficit innovatively, imaginatively and if at all possible, compassionately.

    “Scroungers” are a tiny proportion of claimants in genuine need.

    Immigration is overwhelmingly a problem of the Cities, yet the Cities overwhelmingly voted Labour. Those that voted Tory, often untouched by the problems or immigration at all, seem unduly concerned by it.

    What I’m saying is, that to make benefit cuts palatable, we must convince society that our poor and sick are over paid, lazy and dis-honest.

    DLA is a perfect example. In the latest poll, a majority supported cuts to it. It is clear people have no idea whatsoever what the difference is between DLA and Incapacity Benefit. DLA is a payment made to those with extremely severe disabilities that impact on their ability to live a life comparable to those who don’t. To receive the mobility component you must be practically or totally unable to walk, to receive the care component you must be sick enough to actually need care to look after yourself. Incontinence pads changing, central feeding lines changed, oxygen changed, bloods and IVs put up – the dirty end of being sick. Your disability must be judged to cause you extra expense just to survive. It is practically impossibly to get without the help of a lawyer to tell you what to write on the 40 page forms. This is a total smokescreen, that is stopping us from talking about the real issues.

    I absolutely agree that we should clamp down hard on scroungers – my posts on it have been positively draconian However, what I’m saying is that these issues don’t come close to scratching the surface of our problems, but it suits the coalition and the media to focus on the unsavoury rather than those who will genuinely be hurt very much by these cuts, which are absolutely avoidable if we dared to have a proper debate.

  18. Oh, and just to prove how accepting I am, I’m very glad to hear competitiveness will be put back into school sports.

    Competition will affect everything we ever do in life. Best get used to it early.

  19. Billy B,

    I can see the strategic errors- indeed their were many. Tell me who did Rentoul praise?


    When people are not the recipients of help they underestimate the extent it is needed. It is only when you are incapacitated, elderly or inform that you realise how indespensible they are. Hence Middle England with the lift expectancy of ripvanwinkle thinks we are all bionic. It is difficult to see how we could broaden their mindset to show them the underlying social needs out there…. perhaps we could set up a pressure group called the Worcester Wheelchair Women ? :)


    I am surprised that you want a bit of belt tightening. I too have witnessed a lot of slack in housing, training and transport and logisitcs there is no doubt. I also like my tax rises but not VAT- david B ‘s idea about a rise in income tax made a lot of sense… Also cuts can be good. Declare neutrality and you would save 350 billion over 5 years. It seems a high price to pay to be a warmongering nation.

  20. Eoin – What was that Kinnock quote? actually, probably best I don’t reproduce it here, but I’m sure you know the one I mean.

  21. @Barnaby Marder
    I think local elections are important – and I expect the Lib dems to suffer next year – but I have had a look at this last week’s results – on what I have you could not draw many conclusions. Surprisingly high turnout in one Chippenham contest.

    Bedford Lab +9 Con – 13.0 LD +4.7 (change since June 2009)
    Braintree Con + 7.3 Lab + 5 LD – 8.1 Green – 6.8 (change since May 2007)
    Conwy Lab + 11.5 Con + 9.5 Ind -8.1 Plaid -12.9 (change since May 2008)
    Abingdon LD 55.6 Con 36.8 – no change figures given
    Burton Latimer Con 55.1 Ind 31.3 LD 13.5 – no change figures given Con gain from Independent
    Chippenham LD 78.6 Con 21.4 – no change figures given (43% turnout)
    Chippenham LD 55.5 Con 44.5 – no change figures given
    Llandudno Lab 40.7 Cons 29.4 LD 22.2 – no change figures given
    Shrewsbury TC Lab 47.1 Con 35.2 LD 10.4 Lab Gain from Cons – no change figures given.

    A very interesting discussion on Conservative Home from a Lib Dem and a Conservative insider as to the likely scenario for the end of the coalition. One (Conservative) says 2012 and next election a Labour victory, the other (Lib Dem Govt minister) 2015.

  22. @ COLLIN

    I’m guessing Anthony is not here to remove your 10:48am comment.

    You ought not to make personal remarks & insult other people, here – it is not pleasant.

    Disagreeing with somebody’s comment or saying you dislike the tone is enough. Personal insults are going too far, IMO.

  23. @ Barnaby

    It is very nice to see you posting on the main board again. 8-)

  24. @Neil

    I’m sorry, I just do not understand the logic underpinning your argument that VAT can be viewed as a progressive tax. A tax where 2 people pay the same on an item, regardless of their income must be regressive.
    What about the poll tax or community charge, as you may prefer to call it? Was that also a progressive tax?

  25. @ Sue

    People are keen on the cuts because they think the government is cutting its spending so they won’t have to cut their personal spending so much.

    We shall see how that works out. 8-)

  26. @Collin – “Sue Marsh. What is your opinion of scroungers? Do you believe the problem is negligible?”

    Firstly, I would back up Amber’s point about your 10.48 post – maybe a little bit over the top?

    In terms of the quote from your earlier post, I don’t think anyone likes scroungers or wants them to be allowed to get away with it.

    How big is the problem? Who knows, but in the scheme of things probably not that great compared to other very significant fiddles at the top end of the earnings scales.

    For example, the treasury estimates carousel fraud on VAT (inventing high value cargoes and endlessly importing/exporting them to EU countries to claim VAT refunds) cost us £18b pa.

    The grey economy of cash payments and untaxed earnings is generally reckoned to be worth about 10 – 20% of GDP. Much of this is crime based and eventually comes back to the black economy via money laundering, but even if we could just capture 4% of that and get it taxed at the same general rate of taxation of the rest of the economy we would have about £32b extra government revenue.

    Tax Research have also identified £70b in tax evasion and avoidance. I’m not sure if they have included any of the above points in that, but even if they have, you are looking at 35% of the total welfare budget being paid to scroungers at the higher end of the income bracket.

    And then we get on to what I would term perfectly legal scrounging, like £10b going in pension subsidies to the highest 1% of earners, or welfare payments to millionaires, or free care for people who have highly valuable homes that should be used to pay for this etc etc.

    I am sad that we appear to be seeing a return to the generalised attack on benefits claimants that did so much to secure the Tories reputation as the nasty party. Some people on here have tried to assure us that DC will not retreat to this traditional Tory practice and will be transformational, so lets hope so. I suspect though, that if the coalition pursues a general policy of reducing disability benefits rather than focusing on removing the people who don’t need them we will see the destruction of the Lib Dems, followed soon after by some real difficulties for DC.

    One thing we have forgotten about after thirteen years of Labour is just quite how politically damaging individual stories of hardship and despair are to a government. It doesn’t make for good politics, but it gives oppositions a massive amount of ammunition, and the kinds of thing that really brought down Major in ’97 were stories of children being driven 300 miles to find an intensive care bed and sick elderly people dying of the cold.

  27. It does not seemed to have dawned on some people that a large section of the voting public appear to have taken on board the fact that we are near nigh broke as a nation and steps must be taken. Whether a VAT increase is regressive, progressive, aggressive, assessive or a bit of a bloody nuisance, it really does’nt matter. The Treasury needs the wedge and its got to come from somewhere. We have posters who freely admit that they have never thought there is a financial issue worth getting bothered about ! It really is typical of the broken hearted ex lover, that St Vincent is now being pilloried for taxing the downtrodden masses. When he agreed with everything Labour said (before he saw the books) he was a good guy.

    On the subject of VAT, I agree with an earlier post which states how little an individual need pay extra, unless they choose to. Also I know many of you will be glad to hear that middle class people like me here in Buckinghamshire, have already had a letter which cancels our VAT increase as it is only the poor who are being targeted.

  28. I haven’t posted in a long time, but I know 2 families in reciept of DLA.

    We live in a nive little middle class estate….

    1) family recieve it on behalf of father traded in for Toyota Avensis. they live near Bath, he lives in North Wales, they visit once every 2 months.

    2) Second family, they recieve DLA on behalf of a mildly autistic child, who is not badly enough effected to recieve a school statement. They again have traded in for a car, and they have a nice new 2 seater sports car.

    Now while I am not arguing the rights or wrongs of the system, it is clear that the system is open and is regularly abused.

  29. Sue,

    On VAT and Inpacity measures i shre your opinion wholeheartedly….

    There are a trillion ways to save and raise money…

    Why is the knee jerk response to hit the poor the old the unemployed and the sick…

    BP, SHELL, HSBC, LLOYDS will most likely make c.£50billion profit this year (yes even taking into account the gulf of mexico fiasco).

    Why do we see these companies enjoy a tax cut while we pay more?

    At least with an income tax rise we absolve the needy from bearing the brunt..

    I think those who were opposed to these rises in VAT were less opposed to an income tax rise…


    I’ve met some very caring and compassionate people who are committed Tory voters.

    Their compassion was different from that of many Labour folk – it manifested itself in charitable giving on a personal level and sometimes use of discretionary time in a vouluntary capacity.

    However when it came to support for the poor and vulnerable in our society more generally these Tories were much more hard nosed. They generally felt that people on beneits were scroungers and I’m afraid to say that the Tebbit ‘get on your bike’ philosophy appears popular despite the Cameronian touchy-feely stuff.

    Essentially, Tories want the state to take a very limited role and people to be rewarded for demonstrating personal responsibility (as they see it) by such things as tax relief on private medical expenses. Labour people want the state to be active in support of all our people in all sorts of ways whilst recognising that the public sector should try and improve constantly and offer better value for money. Those of us operating in the public sector are all involved in performance reviews, self assessment, external assessment and quality improvement and in my experience things are getting more efficient even though the pace of change could sometimes be faster!

  31. @SUE MARSH
    I agree with you regarding competitive sport in school.
    Was it not a master stroke to ban anything which caused a child to get out of breath, terrify the weak minded that a paedophile lurks behind every bush. Sit back and wait for a land full of disgusting fat kids with type 2 diabetes at 12 years of age. Brilliant.

  32. @Eoin
    ”I am surprised that you want a bit of belt tightening.”
    Yes indeed. I have seen enormous waste in several fields, especially local government and many parts of the social housing industry. I believe that Parkinson’s law applies in too many areas. It’s one-way traffic. Set up a new post and it’s in and out trays will soon be chocker block with “indispensable” stuff. If a problem of some sort arises what do they do? – call a series of meetings about it. The circular route to decision making.

    IMHO the only way to squeeze the real waste out is to freeze departmental budgets and set a long-term framework for this e.g. A straight freeze, no inflation rises for , say, the next ten years. Protect front line posts, remove bureaucrats. We won’t miss them.

    But I am a Labourite! Where I differ with the crew of HMS Coalition is that they are swinging the axe in a frenzied manner and the good gets chopped along with the bad. Tiz a dilemma for me. ;) 8)

  33. @Roland

    Well why dont we have inheritance tax of 99% on properties worth more than 50K? After all people dont need to live in houses – what’s wrong with Caravans? It’s their choice,after all.

  34. Valerie,

    LOL :)

  35. @DAVID B
    I almost totally agree with your 12 noon post. This fundamental difference in attitude will never see eye to eye. I will not list the charities which are dear to me because it is not of concern to anyone else, but your description of attitude is bang on.

    Regarding on-yer-bike. Without it my ancestors would be unemployed Yorkshie miners today and the other lot would be unemployed agricultural labourers from Dorset. Good job the great grandads got on their bikes init.

  36. Cozmo,

    I share a lot of sympthy with the sentiment , the aims, and the proposed solution….

    unfortunately my faith it its deliverability causes me concern…. but for want of a better alternative….. why not!

  37. The Libs’ argument ,that the deficit is far worse than they thought, simply doesnt add up. What the books show is that the PSBR is less than Darling forecast, not more.

  38. @Eoin
    I’m enjoying this, but I have things to do! :-)

  39. @Eoin
    Do you think the Labour Party will go into the next election promising an increase in Income Tax and in Corporation Tax?

  40. @Valerie
    I think you may be confusing PSBR with structural deficit.

  41. Several random points:

    To be fair to Cable, the Lib Dems before the election made no pledges, solemn or frivolous. They did not rule out raising particular taxes; they did not ring-fence any area of spending. Indeed when Cable unveiled that rather silly poster, he was tackled about the Lib Dems possibly raising VAT and was deeply embarrassed because (rightly) he wouldn’t rule it out.

    @Neil A
    I think you’re forgetting that British basic benefit levels are actually very low compared to most European countries, especially if you don’t have children. Benefits are already at sustenance levels. You’re right about working being good for people, but the problem of people being trapped on benefits has more to do with low wages than high benefits.

    There’s a particular problem with parents (especially single parents) reentering the workplace. All re-entry into the workplace has associated costs and this is particularly high if there’s children under 16 involved. Not least because, after decades of encouraging people to move for work and women into jobs, politicians are now horrified to discover that Granny probably lives hundred of miles away and works herself. I suspect it may be cheaper for the state in the long run to let a lot of these people live on benefits.

    @ Valerie/Neil A
    Can we stop trying to divide all taxes into sheep and goats. Taxes are progressive or regressive only in relation to each other (and even that can be debatable). There is no absolute standard tax to measure things against.

    Your 10:48 comment was definitely a bit off. Also I suspect Sue has seen more council estates than you’ve hot dinners.

    @Simon Kidd
    I’m not an expert, but what you describe sounds like part of the Motability scheme rather than the DLA (the two are linked, but you can have one without the other).

  42. What we are seeing with these polls is a galvanising of opinions towards the required cuts to bring down the deficit. The Liberals and Labour do seem to be taking most of the blame i might add (without being partisan)
    We will have to wait for a few more polls, but the direction we are heading looks like Con 45 Lab 30-32% Lib 18 ish !
    Lets wait and see before we start jumping to final conclusions… exciting times eh !

  43. John T,

    Very good question

    David Miliband? No
    Diane Aboot? Yes
    Ed M? No
    Andy B? No
    Ed B – he’s promising a new graduate tax….

    I think all five will promise a VAT cut…

    How they propose to pay for that will be interesting……

  44. Sorry, I started to write it earlier, but was held up. It’s really about the morning discussion about perceptions of the cuts.

    While there were all the noises during the campaign that the parties did not come out with their measures, there was sufficient opinion-forming in the media about the harshness of the measures to come.

    I think the main parties managed to prepare the public for the cutting of the public sector, so the question left to the public is the accepting or not accepting specific policies – hence the horsetrading and the dripping-method of the introduction of newer and newer measures.

    The political game with various policies (cutting this, cutting that, ringfencing, efficiency savings, etc.) hide the problem of the complexity of the task. It is presented as decisions (alternatives) about the parts of the sum (the budget deficit). None of the parties address the interdependence among these policies (and media captures them only sporadically, eg. the link between social care and NHS). There are some vague talks about cuts versus unemployment benefit, but it’s all spinning.

    The problem with the cuts is that they are interlinked to the way the British society works. Simply, a very large proportion of the welfare state is about maintaining social peace – without tax credit, incapacity benefit, housing benefit, etc. the income differences would be just unbearable – I don’t think that the income differences of the 1840s could be imposed on the UK society (while without the benefit spending (including tax credits) we would be there), so there comes the horsetrading about various policies.

    The second part of the welfare state is about the weaknesses and declining competitiveness of the UK economy – the public service simply took over some of the business functions to avoid making a wasteland of most of the UK as public spending is not constrained by profit expectations. The horsetrading here is related to the question whether the public sector crowded out the private or simply stepped in the vacuum.

    The third part of the welfare state is a result of the economic liberal mindedness (or if you want the atomisation of the society) of the general public that would result in condemnation of a large proportion of the society to poverty (everybody for himself), without this part of the welfare state we would have workhouses. I consider the public mood against this part of the welfare state to be equivalent to the public opinion about death penalty. Nevertheless I think this is the best protected part.

    Dealing with this complexity and inderdependence is beyond the scope of the power of the government. The Big Society could have helped, but it has gone (it’s reduced to the benevolance of the ruling classes and the harshness of the budgetary rules). The coalition government, if it is not heading to meltdown, has to hope that the sporadic, highly unique experiences of the general public mutually put out each other and does not end up in a resultant that destroys the LibDems and a general election where the Labour Party is supported by a mass discontent in large sections of the society. Nevertheless I think this is the most likely outcome.

  45. Wayne,

    Your not NBeale are you?

  46. Wayne,

    Just keep a wee eye on your ‘others’ they might disappear with those totals (5%)…. Poor alex Salmond will be chasing ya….

  47. @Eoin
    “unfortunately my faith it its deliverability causes me concern”
    Agreed. My thoughts were Monday morning ramblings I guess and the ship is already set on a different course. As the belts tighten I will do my bit and see what savings I can make from my personal budget. Maybe cancel the Beano and give up my two pints per week beer ration! :)
    Must go now, back later.

  48. Cozmo,

    Agreed. clarke household has had its austerity budget at the W/e. No more starbucks, organic food, or buying books of amazon that I don’t read.

    I wonder what collectively this will do to growth?

  49. @ Alec

    “I’m not sure if they have included any of the above points in that, but even if they have, you are looking at 35% of the total welfare budget being paid to scroungers at the higher end of the income bracket. ”

    You are perfectly right, of course. There are big cheats and small cheats (SME’s profit figures are even more unreliable than large companies and that tells a lot). You can see it simply by looking at income tax figures – 60 thousand would take one to the top 5%… Quite unbelievable.

    However, without institutional changes there is absolutely no way of catching these. It would require limiting cash transactions (e.g. setting maximum for petty cash account in firms, firm-level breaking down of monetary transactions reported and acted upon by the BoE) BoE monopoloy of foreign exchange transactions, changing accounting rules, kicking out the over 200 people from the Treasury who are on secondment from the Big Four, reporting on transactions with suppliers and customers, etc.). Without it, it’s wishful thinking, though a great wish.

    One of the most unpalatable elements of the LibDem manifesto was the breakdown of tax avoidance without providing the means to do that. It was, well, hopefully I won’t get moderation for it, manipulation at a grand scale.

  50. @Wayne – “What we are seeing with these polls is a galvanising of opinions towards the required cuts to bring down the deficit. The Liberals and Labour do seem to be taking most of the blame i might add (without being partisan)”

    Labour up 4%. 43% of people thinking the cuts were too tough and being used as an excuse by the government – before the cuts actually begin.


    You might want to have a think about your comments?

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