Opinion on the cuts

YouGov latest poll for the Sun assesses public opinion on the cuts ahead of tomorrow’s comprehensive spending review.

60% of respondents saw the spending cuts as unavoidable, and most see this as the government’s main motivation in making the cuts. 55% think that the coalition are only making the cuts because they have to and would not otherwise do so; 31% think the cuts are ideological and that the government would be doing similar even if finances were stronger.

Our survey also suggests the public have accepted the argument that the cuts are more the fault of the last government than the coalition. 48% think the cuts are the fault of Labour, 18% blame the coalition and 16% blame both of them.

The Conservatives remain more trusted than Labour on the economy. They lead Labour by 46% to 20% on which party people most trust to cut the deficit, by 34% to 28% on encouraging economic growth, by 31% to 26% on getting people back into work, but by just 28% to 27% on cutting spending in a fair and equal way.

Despite saying they trust the Conservatives more than Labour, the public do tend to agree with some of Labour’s criticisms of the cuts. People are divided on whether the cuts are actually good for the economy – 42% think they are, 39% think they are not. An increasing proportion of the public see them as being done in an unfair manner (47% of respondents), and 44% think they are being done too fast.

While viewing them as unavoidable, respondents also seem apprehensive about the effect of the cuts. Only 9% think the quality of services will be maintained despite the cuts, with 49% expecting they will suffer a little and 35% expecting them to suffer a lot. 56% of respondents view the cuts as having an effect on their own lives.

Asked about specific spending areas, a majority of respondents (53%) think that the NHS should be entirely protected from cuts. A majority of respondents think that the police, pensions, schools and defence should either be entirely or partially protected from cuts. Welfare benefits, international development and local government are the areas the public are most likely to see as prioritised for cuts.

And looking to the future, most of the public are realistic about how long it will be before the government once again has money to spend. Only 12% expect things to be better within two years, 36% expect it to take three or four years, 21% five or six years and 16% more than seven years.

61 Responses to “Opinion on the cuts”

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  1. “You told us to give better access to credit to the disadvantaged” does not equate to “You told us to miss-sell loans and mortgages, then package these high risk loans in bundles that we re-sell as low-risk.”

    The crash was not caused by the collapse of the sub-prime market alone, that would just have caused a bad recession and a housing market correction.

    What caused the banking collapse was that these debts had been packaged into huge bundles of bad-credit, that had been sold as if they were low risk bonds. That was solely the fault of the banking system, and the neglect of the credit agencies to properly review the debt bundles being sold.

    And even then, it might just have caused a bad recession…

    But the Banking system compounded the errors by building a derivatives and futures market based around trade of these debt bundles!

    And then, to capstone it all, they sold these debts without even bothering to check they had proper legal title to re-sell them! And have had to put a halt to many foreclosure processes in the US because the re-sold bundles became divorced from any right to the titles by failure to follow the due legal process for transferring a mortgage title.

    The cause of the banking crash can only be places on the bank system creating an unregulated, unchecked, and in parts illegal and fraudulent credit-swap market.

  2. @Hooded Man

    My reaction must be related to your nom de plume. I see something sinister… 8-)
    Clearly I didnt realise you were asking a genuine question rather than making a party political point

  3. @Jay Blanc………..I couldn’t agree more with your analysis, my point is, who lit the touchpaper to set off all the subsequent bad behaviour, I say Jimmy Carter. We used to stare in wonderment at some of the ‘securities’ offered to us, with little or no provenance, that would subsequently appear on someone’s spreadsheet. It didn’t just happen, it needed a nudge, Jimmy and Bill gave the nudge.

  4. @Ken

    People willing to milk the banking system for as much commission as they could take have never needed nudges.

    Had it not been subprime mortgages, it would have been some other dubious credit market. The subprime debt was not, after all, the only contribution to the toxic debt bundles. It ranged from football teams, to development loans.

    Laying the blame on Carter is an attempt at distraction, and trying to make political hay out of what was clearly a deeply flawed unregulated banking system.

  5. Valerie, apology accepted.
    I bear no harm. The name is nothing more sinister than a nickname I was given connected to the 80s Robin Hood series. :-)

  6. @Jay Blanc…………Carter blackmailed them into reducing collateral ratios to zero, that was the only excuse they needed, and , at the time, they did need one…………Carter’s your man I’m afraid. :-)

  7. Latest YouGov/Sun figures in first poll since George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review 20th Oct 2010;

    CON 41%, LAB 39%, LD 11%;


  8. Jay,

    You are right in certain aspects of your critique of MBS, CDS, and other derivative markets.

    The real question though is:

    How / why did banks allow themselves to purchase “assets” when they had no idea what those “assets” really were – still less what they were truly worth ?

    This disconnect between investors and the risks they were taking arose in part because the investment banks were given unbridled access to commercial / retail banks; but the bigger cause was that far too many people simply have no proper understanding of risk.

    Splitting investment banking from retail / commercial banking has been suggested as the solution. But that is not really practical. The genie is out of the bottle. We need to find another way. Moreover, it is the misunderstanding of risk which is the real problem, not banking architecture.

    Children need to be taught at an early age that if someting looks too good to be true – then it probably isn’t.

    Feather bedding by the state for every “risk” in life has not helped in enabling peole to make rational assesments of risks and rewards in life – so why would that enable them to do so in complex investments ?

    The fact that the state stepped in to save the banks is also a factor in failing to remove moral hazard. Though to be fair, I don’t think the public would have been too pleased with the consequences had governments not stepped in to protect key banks.

    Such complex problems can never be laid at the door of any single individual – though some are indeed more culpable than others. But we should ask what we as individuals think of the idea that everyone is entitled to this that and the other regardless of our circumstances etc.

    The enduring consequence of the global banking crisis is that globally, banks will be more cautious about lending. Borrowers too should be more prudent and realistic in what they borrow. Likewise, Investors need to be realistic about what returns they can expect, and how the “profits” to produce those returns are to be generated.

    In that context, Government exhortations to banks to lend more are not really very helpful.

  9. Neil A,

    Incidentally, small matter (apols. others) but my sister had her case against her abuser dropped today by CPS. You guys have a thnkless task. Of course the ombudsman is now inolved and one of you will receive a disciplinary for it. A perpetuating and thankless cycle. Nobody wins. Not even him, since rehabilitation is obviously what is required (or castration depending on your outlook). Sis is fine so it aint the bad news story you might think. But somewhere down the line it might come back.

  10. @Eoin,

    Was it dropped post-charge? Or did they decide not to proceed in the first place?

    I actually found the CPS in London to be fairly gung-ho (ie pro-prosecution) in recent years with decisions on sex offences. I don’t know (yet) what other parts of the country are like. But in general CPS are a complete shower and my concern is that the cuts will drive them under.

    Historic sex abuse is really only “proveable” where there are multiple victims. No jury can convict someone on the uncorroborated word of a single victim after the passage of many years. As an investigator, my case theory when a victim came forward was always “This guy will have abused before, and since. Who were his likely victims and how do I find them?” I knew that unless at least one other person came forward I’d never get him. Of course that is labour intensive and hard to do. It sometimes means tracking family members or other people down across continents.

    What I would say is that no child abuse case is ever “dead and buried”. I’ve had successful prosecutions against offenders even when 30 plus years have elapsed since the offence, and even in cases where a victim came forward and no action was taken. The key is to locate the other victims. Once you have two or more, miracles can happen.

  11. Neil,

    gotta go…

    but yes t’was ‘historic’ one of the most insensitive terms I’ve heard but there you go. The net was a bit wider than just the one, in temrs of other damage done. But I guess the solution is to knuckle down etc.. Adversity, as you know, brings different qualities out of different people… Tis why a helping hand will always be my ideology :) :)

    Until next time – :)

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