YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times has voting intention figures of CON 42%, LAB 37%, LDEM 13%. It’s a higher Conservative lead than YouGov have shown recently, and the highest Lib Dem score from YouGov for a while – but nothing that couldn’t just be normal random variation. What it does suggest is that the continuing row over housing benefit is not damaging the government. Full tables are here.

On that specific issue, YouGov asked again about support for the cap on housing benefit, and found 72% of people in favour (this is much in line with the levels of support YouGov found when the cap was first announced in the budget back in June, althought the question itself was not the same so you cannot draw a conclusion about support going up or down).

The regular trackers are broadly positive for the government. David Cameron’s approval rating is up to plus 15, from a low of plus 8 a week ago and people’s opinion of whether the government is managing the economy well is back in positive territory after falling into negative territory a week ago.

Ed Miliband’s approval rating has dropped to plus 2, as those thinking he is doing a bad job rises to 32%. This is largely following the normal pattern for party leaders – when they first become leader people give them the benefit of the doubt for a couple of weeks. After a while supporters of other parties start giving them negative answers and leader’s net ratings fall.

Impressions of the state of the economy have risen following the announcement of GDP figures – 7% think the economy is in a good state, 70% a bad state. While extremely pessimistic, the net figure of minus 63 is actually the highest since the end of July and start of August… straight after the last lot of GDP figures were announced. The boost in optimism then didn’t last very long.

YouGov also asked some questions about Europe. Unsurprisingly people overwhelmingly thought that Britain paid too much towards the European Union. Attitudes towards an expansion of the EU’s powers to limit government borrowing and impose greater budget discipline were more positive though. 29% supported the idea of gving the EU greater powers to stop countries borrowing too much, including the UK. 37% supported the EU having such powers over the Eurozone, but not the UK. We did also ask a question about David Cameron supporting the economic powers in exchange for a freeze in EU funding, but it was alas overtaken by events.

336 Responses to “YouGov show 72% in favour of housing benefit cap”

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  1. @Éoin…….If that’s all you lot have got, roll on 2015. :-)

  2. Ken,

    Well in fairness, we aint even got that. That was Éoiy’s manifesto not Eds lol.

  3. @ALEC
    God knows there is many a slip twixt cup and lip for the coalition. However, not being familiar with Labour politicians, I have no way of knowing how they will react. Certainly the attitudes I read on this board suggest nothing has been learned by dedicated Labour supporters. Modern Labour concepts which would not have even been recognised by the parties founding fathers are defended, in the teeth of rejection by the most likely Labour voters. There is a major confusion between looking out for those who cannot always look out for themselves and taking the mass of productive and hard working people as mugs.

  4. @Alec

    You are correct in that he surprised pretty much everyone with BoE independence. From memory the long end of the gilt market moved up about 10% over the next few days in response.

  5. An article penned by none other than Chris Huhne I feel obliged to post, shows that Yellows were the first party to support independance for the BoE as early as Feb. 1994. Of course, we all know that the backbenches of the Tory party also supported it. A private memebrs bill was rejected by Sephen Dorrell in 1995. Brown first publicly supported it May of 1995. As Alec correctly poitns out it did not make it into the Labour Manifesto.. instead this quote was included

    “We will reform the Bank of England to ensure that decision-making on monetary policy is more effective, open, accountable and free from short-term political manipulation.”

    I attach Chris Huhne’s link

    h ttp://

  6. Eoin

    The probelm is this, however, letting some self centred inconsiderate eejit clock up £20,000+ on annual rent, is not the upholding of these principles, but the abuse of these principles. You can retain your principles, by simply stating a preference for buildign social housing.

    The trouble is that in London it’s very easy for a family to spend £20,000+ on annual rent. I was commenting about the effect of the changes on a hypothetical family of six in East London a couple of days ago and did a search on a property website for 4 bed-roomed properties. (I soon realised that in a 3-bed you’d never get a pair of kids in the smallest bedroom). The median (page 26 of 52) -the current top limit for LHA – was £450 per week; the 30 percentile (p 17 of 52) £370 pw.

    That’s £23,400 per annum and £19,240 pa for “market rents”. There’s hope that the changes may drive rents down (I am very dubious), but it won’t for these properties because they’re also used by groups of four plus adults house-sharing. The number of those will increase with the benefit changes.

    I chose East London as the cheapest area and a lot of these properties were quite far out from Central London. It shows how difficult it is for families to get rentals that aren’t at these “inconsiderate” levels.

    I would have thought one of a family with 9 kids would have been more sympathetic. After all this is the maximum for any family, however big, and if the total benefit cap is put at £25k, the remaining benefits after these sorts of rents wouldn’t be enough to keep a family.

    [I’m not picking on you Eoin, I just don’t know the family circumstances of others posting :) ]

  7. @Eoin

    An independent BoE may have been discussed for ages however the decision and its timing were totally unexpected. The recent CSR was trailed for months and its timing and ultimately its decisions were not unexpected.

  8. @Alec…..Ed M has a problem with the Unions, they’ll want their pound of flesh, I don’t think he can fob them off in the way that TB did……….if we get the direct action they promise, he’s hogtied.
    By the way, thanks for your response on commercial property, I feel a boom coming on.

  9. EOIN
    You mention some of the lovely little luxuries a really wealthy nation might like to provide for its people. I am certainly not against them as long as they are not free for the well off. However when the old Barclaycard has been hammered and hammered and the debt interest is up round your ears, you have to think again. Its alright for you boys from the Bullingdon who just have to phone Daddy up for a few grand.

  10. More great news that could affect the polls, a Brit., Lee Westwood, will topple Tiger Woods as the world’s number one golfer when the table is published tomorrow, Tiger has held the title for over five years…so well done Lee, and well done you Scots for bringing us the world’s finest game. :-)

  11. Roger,

    My brother is a hospital orderly c.13k p.a. he pays £420 rent p.m ie 40% of his annual income which is already on the pverty line. My mother has four jobs, 70+ hours a week and pays her rent… My sister is a classroom assistant, couldn’t afford to keep up mortgage payments on her home so sold it and moved back in with my mum.

    This is how ordinary families live. £20k of a handout purely on a choice of were to live is an anethma to working class people.

    Cambidge University emailed me during the week. The invited me to applay for a good post in Cambridge. c. £35 (not bad for a young professional). I checked out the local propoerty market, decided I could not afford to live there and so declined to apply. Real life decisions by real life people.

    I am not simply critiquing this either, I have suggested a monumental social housing programme.. restrictions of buy to let landlords, buying new builds, or selling thei rproporties to soon.

    I don’t recognise the world you talk of…

  12. Eoin,
    you mention i might know what waiting lists were.

    I wish I was that young! I voted first on 28.Feb, 74.

    Not so sure about the cyclical thing.Apart from TB’s time Maudling’s quote about Britain being a Tory land which sometimes votes Labour seems to be true. Short red cycles anyway; 1923-24, 29-31, 45-51, 64-74 and 74-79, pre TB, and these periods have lots of minority periods, as you know; only 45-50 and 66-70 of secure red government- 9 years out of 1918-1997 when the reds have had a secure govt, and really only 1945-50 could make non-blues proud.
    I have been a public sector worker (school teaching including some ‘cb’ time since 1979 and TB seemed to offer a way forward for non-blues.

  13. @Laszlo

    The FSA was an attempt to regulate all financial services under one huge umbrella. This was unnecessarily comlex as the key issue is not the product but the participant. The regulation should have been kept to wholesale and retail participants with the view that retail required more protection. Wholesale participants are assumed to know the risks. Banks have compliance depts unlike most individuals.

    The banks should have remained under the supervision of the BoE. I know from personal experience that the BoE couldn’t prevent abuses but did react swiftly and brutally when they were discovered. The wholesale market did not respect the FSA in the same manner and knew that they could get away with more and more complex structures. The driving force behind the added complexity was that the margins on normal business had become so tight that new products with bigger margins were manufactured.

    IMHO the FSA was just unfocussed and ill-suited. Some parts were regulating individual retail matters that though serious for the individual would not bring down the banking system and others were … well, the rest is history.

  14. @Éoin……..Was the £35 offer from Cambridge, hourly, or daily ? I need to know for HB purposes. :-)

  15. @Eoin and all Historians; mea culpa for error on dates.
    1964-74 for red rule should of course be 64-70 only.

    Still means only 9 years of non Blue government in the Age of Democracy. (1918/1928 Full suffrage)

    TB broke the spell.. and then the reds dumped him and ‘got their party back’

  16. Ken lol :)

    Northern Ireland was once ahead of the game on this in two was. 1. We had a central housing exeuctive to ensure the fair allocation (points system). 2. we built more social housing. Things for us went wrong in the mid 90s when we caught the bricks and mortar bug. I don’t think the PIRA ceasefire helped much either, since the value of our homes climbed very rapidly afterwards….

  17. Chris L,

    I disagree with your analysis. Blair got 42% of the vote but by 2005 his votes where down to 36% of what wa sa very low turnout. I am happy to agree to disagree though.

  18. @ Aleksandar

    I agree with you on BoE. My point is a bit different, however.

    The financial products were so blurred, crossing to insurance policies and to purely futures type vehicles in which the BoE did not have expertise.

    I tried to emphasise that the FSA was good at a concept level. It’s a different matter how it was implemented and how it carried the clashes between different institutions. I would not argue there for a moment that it was unfocussed as you said.

    In my best opinion (which does not mean much), once the thing happened, the government should not have saved any of the banks, but carry through the logic (!) of the accounting rules and should have done it in one weekend: stating that these banks are bankrupt as their liabilities technically exceed their assets. Declaring the shareholders value zero. Recapitalising the banks. Replacing all senior managers. Declaring the functions of these new entities.

    As to the regulations. The financialisation literature has been going on about the phenomenon since the mid 1990s. The biggest warning should have been the amount of money going into these instruments and how the supply keeps up with the demand no matter what. It’s largely a political function, hence the BoE would not have been the appropriate instiution. The notion of FSA was right, but what came out of it, not.

  19. May I drag everybody back to the headline theme for a moment. The HB cap. The public are currently very supportive (as shown by the polls).

    But (there’s always a but…) local councils are in uproar. These councils have an obligation to house families who are made homeless. They do not have the right, unless I have missed something, to bus them out of the area & let another council pick up the problem.

    Therefore, both Labour & Tory councils who believe they will be affected, are saying they need a budget to cover the (uncapped) cost of housing these families in emergency accomodation.

    Unless I have missed something, those families stay in that (uncapped) emergency accomodation until they are rehoused. Again, the council has no right to push them to another area.

    So, there would need to be fundamental changes to the laws regarding housing homeless families for the cap to be workable. Otherwise, families will be housed in more expensive, yet very unsuitable, hotel or B+B accomodation. Kathy come home remade for the 21st C could well be the outcome.

    Despite current polling, I am not so sure that Ed M has got himself on the wrong side of this; I think he has his eye on the medium term impact. 8-)

  20. @ Julian Gilbert – “Now public perception is fickle and often illogical. One voter can say, hey these policies are fantastic one day and the next say they are the worst idea imaginable.”

    Glanced at some polling by NOP from the seventies the other day, comparing Labour and Tory voter’s responses to such questions as “Should government spending be reduced?” Both groups overwhelmingly agreed (Tories 10% more so at 80%).

    It is a bit like someone saying “Terrible weather?” Perhaps It is easier to just to say “Yes, terrible” and continue on your way. If it is someone you know who wants a conversation, you might stop and venture “But we need the rain.”

    “It’s to present [policies] to the public in a way that ensures they are supported.” Exactly… the job of politicians. But the Labour party needs to remember that it cannot do this without sympathetic media coverage.

  21. @Laszlo

    I think you underestimate the BoE expertise in financial derivatives. They always seemed pretty clued up to me. They had no interest in inusrance policies so they probably lacked expertise there. Zonal marking.

    The major problem IMO with the Japanese lost decade has been the support for the zombie banks who are incapable of functioning properly due to their dodgy assets yet are kept alive for political reasons.

  22. @ Aleksandar

    I agree with you on the Japanese banks. But Japan is different. Every serious expert with inside knowledge agree that the loans cannot be paid back. Hence the Cheshire Cat effect.

    I’m not sure about BoE expertise – my judgement comes from a series of meetings between different institutions between 2003-2006 where I was an observer – they were about two years behind the financial markets at that point (the only reason for knowing this was that I had the opportunity of spending endless interview meetings with people from the most innovative departments of investment banks). However, it does not change my opinion that BoE and Treasury people are probably among the brightest people on financial affairs in the country.

  23. @ Amber

    If you are right, how do you sell it to the public? I think it would just resolve their attachment to the Tory policy.

  24. @Amber

    I don’t know the answer to your questions but FWIW I do know that some London councils offer deals to landlords outside their own patch. Long term leases, provision of tenants, fast track HB payments etc.
    I noticed on the Brent website they state that their temporary housing is in Brent or in neighbouring boroughs.
    This suggests that a council can find accommodation outside the area but I don’t know what the restrictions/limitations are. The problem is still with the host council though the family may now reside elsewhere.

  25. Eoin

    I was about to reply to you and them you went and made some of my points to Ken. ;) Of course I agree with you on more social housing too (millions more) and if not restricting buy to let landlords, at least stopping all their tax advantages.

    But you’re seeing things from a NI perspective with its housing advantages and even there, as you say, ending being a war zone derailed things. If civil conflict is needed to make to housing market work sensibly, we do have problems.

    But imagine if your family had been Londoner through and through and were now facing this sort of situation. Even if you are in social housing, it is intended to bring rents up to 80% of market rates. If in private rented accommodation, such a household can lose its main source of income from job-loss or sickness and immediately be at risk of homelessness. Do you move away from London and all your employment and family contacts and support systems?

    From a public opinion perspective, you may be right, at least initially. Most Britons don’t realise the crazy state of the current London rental market – even Londoners unless they’ve been involved in the property market recently. It’s noticeable that support for the cap is already a bit less in London though (despite coalition support being higher) and as usual once the policy starts getting personified in its real effects on real people things may change fast.

  26. The general public aren’t bothered about the detail, they just want to see some benefits get cut.

    The public perception, and hence poll scores, is that too many people get too much without contributing.

  27. I ran some checks on property prices in London. I am no speculator by any stretch but these properties seem reasonable….. why cant some of those facing eviction take up these types of homes?

    h ttp://

  28. Off topic, but for anyone interested in Prop 20 and 27 which Californians will be voting for/against, and an American take on the problems of redisticting:

    h ttp://

  29. Given that they are in coalition with the Conservatives, it is curious that the demographic profile of Lib Dem support (according to the tables) continues to be a faint replica of Labour’s.

    Like Labour, the LibDems are at their strongest among 18-24s and C2DEs. Regionally, their support is pretty evenly spread (but is lower in Scotland – possibly due to the existence of the SNP).

    It’s also curious that the Tory lead over Labour appears to be greater in London – but the sample size is too small to draw any firm conclusions.

  30. amber/aleksandar
    As Aleksandar says, local authorities can put there homeless elswhere and pick up the tab for the housing costs but it does leave the interesting point on coverage of many other costs.
    However Amber’s main point is true. Local authorities are already being driven to bankruptcy by homelessness. Aberdeen City Council faces a deficit on B&B and hotels of around £2m in the current year

  31. @ Alexsandar

    Thank you for the information. I am not an expert on this subject – but I know that London councils (including Westminster) are saying they will need a budget to cover all the expected costs of the changes in HB rules. 8-)

  32. Barney

    Hope you had a good time in Oban.

    Is one of the problems here not the common practice of different layers/sectors of Government often protecting their own budgets at the expense of someone elses?

  33. @ Lazslo

    I do not think, in the short-term, Labour can ‘sell’ their opposition of the HB changes.

    I think it will only be a sell, if the implementation exposes consequences that the Coalition have not considered.

    It could become about competence – Tory councils & a Tory Mayor go on the record to say the policy has caused more problems & expense than it has resolved.

    Then Ed M pops back up to remind everybody that he questioned the policy at the time But Mr Cameron was ‘not listening & not for turning’. 8-)

  34. Robin
    AW will reply I expect but he has pointed out before that what he calls the ‘cross breaks’ (these I believe are the sub divisions of opinion into, for instance, social class or geographical area) are too small a sample to draw any conclusions from them.

    A technique of aggregating them for a week’s data is sometimes employed but this runs the risk of not recording rapid change accurately.

  35. Old Nat
    Yes Totally though in honesty I would point out I was warning fellow councillors that central government was bound to hit back at some point as all local authorities were to some extent using HB to substitute for other social work spending – drugs treatment etc and some were squeezing far more than they should. That said I don’t think current UK government knew the practicality of what their actions involved especially for councils. They did know the perceptions mentioned by I think simple Simon and others will note that older people (who vote) are protected better than HB claimants who disproportioonately do not vote IMO
    I enjoyed Oban despite terrible rain. I ran the pub quiz and survived!

  36. I cannot remember since I joined this happy band, that we have had such a long period of nothingness.

    I have a definite feeling of a boat drifting along the river and unknowingly approaching a huge waterfall.
    Amber and others clearly hope I am right but I believe a very visible downturn in economic outlook is required. This is because last night’s YG poll shewed that voters already feel miserable about future prospects so it just shews that ‘take our medicine’ is the mood. My feeling is that they really think somebody else will be (having to take the medicine).

  37. Barney

    Well done on the pub quiz!

    What is the actual mechanism for councils getting finance for housing the homeless? Different in the four nations? – or is it from Westminster?

  38. Interesting article, for those who rate Rentoul’s words..

    h ttp://

  39. howard

    i think the mood is

    that the medicine would be the same no matter who was in govt

  40. @ Howard – “… they really think somebody else will be (having to take the medicine).”

    Buyer’s remorse is really an unpleasant gut feeling, especially if you are locked into a five year HP agreement. The best you can do is tell everyone you are happy, and comfort yourself with the spiteful notion that the big-end has finally blown on the poor sap who bought your old banger.

  41. I had a look Eoin and the reason you are recommending the article is because he agrees with you.

    I don’t think Labour need any policy development other than general mouthings of discontent. Look at Barney’s contributions and you will see where by next May it should be a pushover.

  42. Old Nat
    It is from Westminster. So yes it complicates things if either it substitutes for devolved social work expenditure or if cuts to it put more pressure on devolved local government expenditure. Also the checks on it are very strict and if local government pays out, large sums can be clawed back sometimes involving extrapolation from small samples. (Payments to private landlords are administered by local councils)

  43. Howard,

    I know not, if you rate Rentoul’s words.

  44. Barney


  45. @Amber

    “So, there would need to be fundamental changes to the laws regarding housing homeless families for the cap to be workable. Otherwise, families will be housed in more expensive, yet very unsuitable, hotel or B+B accomodation. Kathy come home remade for the 21st C could well be the outcome.”

    I heard it reported the other day that several central London councils are block-booking B&Bs in places like Hastings, Eastbourne, Margate… This isn’t just re-housing the homeless, it’s beginning to look like forced relocation on a dramatic scale.

    Plus I don’t expect south coast councils are looking forward to the volatile and unpredictable effects on the demand for schools places and other services.

  46. @ Barney

    I’m glad that you survived Oban; & that your Quiz went well. 8-)

  47. Eoin
    No I don’t. I don’t trust men with silly quiffs.
    Billy Bob
    I think you think I am a disappointed LD – wrong – I will be if we don’t get AV but will not blame Orange bookers for that.

    I’ll blame EM, but again not if he does the right thing. Same applies to ‘minor’ parties.

  48. Howard,

    Thankyou for that clarification.

  49. @ Robin

    I have read similar, & I am all astonishment that people can be given emergency accomodation in the places you mention, if they are currently living in central London.

    @ Barney

    Do you have experience of this? I cannot imagine that homeless families in Aberdeen can be offered temporary accomodation in e.g. Elgin or the Shetland Isles & that is the council’s ‘job done’. 8-)

  50. ‘I heard it reported the other day that several central London councils are block-booking B&Bs in places like Hastings, Eastbourne, Margate’

    wrote Robin

    See what most of us think would be the reaction of voters at the moment Robin.

    Win win?

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