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. Billy Bob and Barney
    Thanks for comments.

    My grandfather was in the Met police and his beat was in East London, including I think the Isle of Dogs which was a pretty rough area then I believe. No idea what it’s like now though.

    Yes, I recall Camden offering tenancies in Burnley.

  2. I note Andrew Hawkins won pollster of the year…. who votes/ajudicates on that? No sarcasm intended! :)

  3. Ha ha, Mike N, the Isle of Dogs gawd luv it, many a tale to be told. :)

    “Tories of the David Davies or John Bercow type”
    What rubbish is this? I know both men personally, they and their politics are very different things. Davies is a very honourable right winger and Bercow is not even a Tory, and has not been for years. Bercow discovered girls and socialism at the same time when he met his
    “lovely wife”. When he was “Conservative” MP for Buckingham she would never accompany him to the constituency because of people like me. I am sure that is very easy for you and the majority of posters on this board to understand, but it hardly puts Bercow in the same bracket as DD. DD BTW is my daughters MP.
    The one connection between them is, they are both very good constituency MPs.

  5. @Barney

    ‘ I think one likely option would be for more landlords to move to more multiple occupation, a step towards the slum housing you mention.’

    Thanks for shedding light on some of the HB issues. Regarding the above the change in the under 25s issue will logically increase the move to multiple occupation subject to planning regulations anyway.

    The 2004 Housing Act, if applied, should prevent deteriorating conditions in HMOs. The real problem has been that good landlords are regulated heavily with an increase in costs but bad ones who stay under the radar can do what they want. In Hammersmith and Fulham the cost of the HMO licence is £1000 for five years.

    Every council should run an accreditation scheme that requires every landlord to be a ‘fit and proper person’ and comply with the Act. The recent Panorama program appeared to show landlords who didn’t seem to live up to that standard receiving bucket loads of HB on behalf of their tenants. IMHO some LAs turn a blind eye to such cases when the alternative to people living in slums is the council having to rehouse them.

    The regulations on HMOs are in place but they need to be applied for the sake of the tenants and those landlords who do comply. LAs have vast powers yet seem very loath to use them against the worst culprits.

  6. As a nice change from the UK Polling Report Labour Faction fighting and refighting and then fighting once again the Housing Benefit debate, let me change the subject to defence. Cameron is making noise about chiping in with the French. This is rubbish that will never work (other than at a very basic level) whether it is proposed by Labour, Liberal, Tory or Plymouth Brethren. Silly Dave.

  7. Roland,

    Since when did you blues turn into pacifists>? Its great! :)

  8. Here is one thought re HB and the polls.I do not believe this will effect the tories/coalition one bit and may even benefit them if you pardon the pun.How likely is it those on housing benefit for rented accomadation council or private vote tory ?? My opinion hardly any,some may not even vote.However the populist policy on the surface resonates with the public,or those employed ones anyway.People do not look at the finer detail of someone being moved from Westminster to Brent,they just see themselves trying to keep their job and pay their mortgage.Will it affect the lib dem vote,personally no as people naturally will see it as a tory policy.
    The perception of many people in this country is that benefits should be a safety net for the very poorest not a way of life. Even Labour supporters according to the polls seem to be supportive. Many of these could be (although I hate the term ) working class people who are just that ,working hard to make ends meet.
    It may even get the government more support.Let’s be honest not even Thatcher tackled the welfare state.

  9. There is an interest report out today from the TUC (biais alert, but worth looking into still) that shows 63% of the total benefits cuts (around £9.5b) will come from working families, as opposed to out of work families.

    There doesn’t appear to be any detail on the income levels affected, but the various analyses I have seen show some significant losses for relatively large numbers of people. Often government supporters talk of cuts of ‘only’ £10 or £20 per week being acceptable, but depending where you are on the income scale these things can be important.

    MichaelB’s point is worth noting though – if these are more natural Labour voters may be it doesn’t matter to the coalition?

  10. Defence co-operation; ‘This is rubbish that will never work (other than at a very basic level) whether it is proposed by Labour, Liberal, Tory or Plymouth Brethren. Silly Dave.’ ROLAND HAINES

    Seems sensible to me to have, for example, planes that can land on each other’s aircraft carriers, then we might have some planes on our carriers (when we get them)!

  11. @JACK
    Yes it does SEEM sensible, but not with the French. I am not going into the matter any further than that. Its all been said already.

  12. @Eoin,
    I hope your evening went well.
    Yes, I know the data on elections, teach it all day, a great job it is as well.

    My point is that in the age of universal suffrage since 1918/1928. we have only had 1945-50 and 1966-1970 of secure non-tory govt pre TB, and the reds dumped him- in the week he was securing peace in the north of Ireland/ Six Counties.

    I know the blues were in a minority for 1832-1885, except for 1841-46, a brief period in 1852, and then 1874-1880.

    But then 1886-1905 (apart from minority GOM & Rosebery govts 1892-95) were blue

    And after 1910 the yellows depended on power for green and new reds.

    Then the awful yellow split 1916, allows blue to dominate politics until 1945, with yellow support 1916-22 (apart from new red minority govs in 1924, 1929-31.

    Therefore I do not agree with the thesis of a pendulum really. Pre and post TB we are really a blue country


    Thanks for the correction – it did seem to be too humorous for the teabahggers.

  14. Chris, my entertaining was very good thanks :)

    Your point on Universal Suffrage is a great one. In the last 18 elections, blues have avergaed 40.6% of the popular vote. Reds have averaged 40.235%.

    Since I am a democrat I am drawn to these figures. What is it about them do you feel that makes blue the natural party of government?

    I am a kind soul, so I will tell you what I’ll do. I will remove all the Blair victories and calculate the averages…. How is that?

    Well the thing is that reds average vote climbs to 40.342%. Even when we remove the red superhero, reds actually manage a higher % return at elections. A point in your favour might be that blues climb to 42.4% without the defeats of Howard, Hague, and Major.


    Now, let’s say we remove Thatcher… Red average climbs to 42.8% blue drops to 40.1%,

    Blair and Thatcher were two iconic leaders, who undoubtedly shaped the outcome of the elections they were invovled in. However I see nothing to suggest that blue is the natural party of government.

    In fact in the last 18 elections, only on 8 of the occasions have blue managed to get more votes than red.

    10-8 to reds, hardly makes blue top dogs! :)

    I don’t know that “we” are a blue country. Scotland is not these days that’s for sure. I think that the Tories have had the best reputation for economic competence for the lions share of the time you discuss. The Blair blip corresponds with the Tories losing that bouquet. Whether recent events will reconfirm the Conservatives as the more trusted financially remains to be seen. Certainly, much of the good Labour did for itself in Blairs first term is undone now.

  16. Alec,

    Thanks for pointing out that report.

    We do know that £2.5bn of the £9.5bn impacts only those ‘working families’ with Higher Rate taxpayers

    Generally on the welfare changes, it is interesting to note that the use of CPI indexation, trailed firstly in the budget, accounts for £3.6bn of the overall £15.9bn welfare changes. This subject has been barely discussed on here for one reason or another but it is a significant element of the reform – there are arguments in favour of both CPI and RPI, but on the basis that the recipients of benefits (including pensioners) are less likely to own their own home/have mortgages, then there is some logic for CPI to be utilised (and obviously for GO, it saves money in the meantime!)

    Not that I disagree with the findings of the report BTW. Just that there is always more to the story than meets the eye!

  17. @MICHAEL B
    Your very sensible comment @ 12.57 is very similar to one or two which surfaced yesterday. The continual whineing on this board about people being uprooted from Chelsea and moved to Fulham ect ect ect, just shows the distance from financial reality some posters are. Your comment regarding support for the poor rather than a life choice, whilst so very true, seems to pass them by completely.

  18. October PMI was very encouraging :-

    Overseas sales rose at the fastest pace for five months in October.

    The rise by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s latest index was the quickest since May and reversed an export decline in September.

    Manufacturers have now grown output for the 17th month in a row and are taking on new staff at the quickest rate since June, CIPS added.

    Andrew Goodwin, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, said the survey put the “final nail in the coffin” to expectations of more quantitative easing by the BoE

  19. @ Aleksandar – “… good landlords are regulated heavily with an increase in costs but bad ones who stay under the radar can do what they want.”

    There will be a discussion on BBC R4’s You and Your’s consumer rights programme tomorrow morning (12 noon) about the rental market. They are reporting that there has been a 40% increase in those seeking to rent in the last year, which suggests to me that forecasts of a price drop are by no means certain.

  20. @Alec

    The TUC report is welfare changes by 2014/15. I’m not sure of the timing of the IDS welfare reforms but will they have had some effect by then?

  21. @ Hooded man

    This is from Michael Meacher’s blog

    “In addition the Government is also trying to make CPI the default measure of inflation in the private sector too. It has been officially estimated that if CPI were to reduce the inflation compensation in occupational schemes by even as little as 0.5% a year, it would cut employer payments by 5% by 2030.

    But most striking of all in this RPI to CPI switch is the discriminatory bias against poor families. If the CPI is right for benefits and pensions, why not for tax thresholds too? That would save money for the Exchequer – in fact far more – but it would disadvantage middle and high earners.”

  22. LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Sterling climbed against the dollar and euro on Monday after an unexpected rise in UK manufacturing data added to recent strong surveys showing the UK economy is continuing to recover.

    The Markit/CIPS’s headline manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 54.9 in October, its highest level since July, wrongfooting economists’ expectations for a fall to 53.1.

    Sterling jumped to a session high of $1.6090 against the dollar

    The surprising figures followed data last week showing the UK economy grew more than expected in the third quarter, and added to expectations that the Bank of England will hold fire on further quantitative easing when it meets this week.

    “We have had a bit of a boost from this data ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting,” said Simon Smith, chief economist at FxPro.

  23. Aleksandar

    “I’m not sure of the timing of the IDS welfare reforms but will they have had some effect by then?”

    Most certainly-they will change welfare fundamentally .

    The plan is to migrate recipients from the current benefits and tax credits systems onto the Universal Credit starting in 2013 and finishing in the next Parliament.

  24. Syzygy,

    As I said there are arguments both ways. The key difference between indices is the house price/mortgage factor and that is the ‘logic’ as it were for changing pensions and benefits to CPI, where the recipients are significantly less likely to own homes/ have mortgages than working families. So CPI may better reflect the price inflation felt by those in receipt of benefits than RPI, albeit it is traditionally lower.

    PS rents are common to both indices.

  25. Billy Bob
    “…40% increase in those seeking to rent in the last year, which suggests to me that forecasts of a price drop are by no means certain.”

    In addition the tightening of lending requirements (eg 25% deposit required) is likely to drive up demand for rented accommodation.

    If there is an increase in demand for any product or service the outcome is a price increase. Will there be sufficient supply of accommodation to hold down rents?

  26. Eoin Clarke: Suggesting that Labour’s average vote share excluding 1997+ is higher than including it means Old Labour policies are more popular than New Labour is misleading. It misses the point that since 1974 there has been a fairly straight line in the decline of the share of the vote of both the Conservative and Labour Parties.

    We can all cherry pick figures that seem to make our points we agree on. Since the war the Tories have never fallen below 30%, Labour has twice. What does that mean?


    On only 3 occasions have the Tories won more than 50% of Scottish seats.

    1924 – 37/73
    1931 – 50/73
    1935 – 37/73

  28. It is interesting to see the Coalition dealing with Terrorism, in particular Control Orders.

    Here is what the Lib Dems stated in their 2010 Manifesto:

    Scrap control orders, which can use secret evidence to place people under house arrest.

    In ‘The Coalition – The Programme for Government’, the policy became:

    We will urgently review Control Orders, as part of a wider review of counter-terrorist legislation, measures and programmes. We will seek to find a practical way to allow the use of intercept evidence in court.

    It appears that they are watering down even this position. Both David Davis and Chris Huhne seem to unhappy with Control Orders. While I am in no doubt that Collective Cabinet responsibility will prevail, and Control Orders will remain, Civil Liberties are a subjective issue that get many people very flustered, and will ripple through the back-benches for sometime

  29. @BillyBob

    Thanks. I’ll try to catch that.

    The 40% rise intrigues me as last year they must have had some living arrangements, either renting, owning, living at home/abroad or homeless. It seems a big shift in how people choose to live.
    Is it people choosing to rent before the collapse in property prices? A lot of sellers are taking advantage of the recovery to off-load their houses. Is the counter to the 40% a major collapse in buying demand and hence house prices?

  30. From HoC w4mp website.:-

    Posted: 29 October 10

    working for The Labour Party
    salary Dependent on experience
    details The Labour Party is seeking to recruit two Economic Advisors.
    These roles will be focussed on assisting the Labour Party with the research and development of our economic policies. You will liaise with the relevant Shadow Cabinet ministers and their advisers, the PLP and EPLP, drafting a range of publications for internal and external consumption in support particularly of Labour’s work in Parliament as the official Opposition”

    Interesting-particularly “development of our economic policies.”-implies a state of flux currently?

  31. DevonChap,

    Lol. I did not say old red is more pop than new red. Wherever did you get that notion from?

  32. Roland,

    If one was to plot all contries political system’s on a spectrum. England would indeed be right of the spectrum. Not as far right as the Republic of Ireland or America, but right nonetheless. When I disagree with Chris that England is not a Conservative country, I do so with reference to Capital C, not a baby c. Of course it is a conservative country, if one was simply to look at tis disposition, rather than party affiliation.

  33. Colin,


    Perhaps AJ has struggled with his ‘primer’ on Economics and they need some experienced resource quick?

  34. Hooded Man

    Ah yes-that makes sense :-)

    But it perhaps does indicate that they are starting from scratch.

  35. @mike N,
    I do not know where these rent rises came from.I live in metroplitan Essex about 40 minutes from London and rents are the same if not lower than 3 years ago.What is driving rents down or keeping them stable is falling house prices.Many people cannot sell as they have remortaged etc,many sellers are forced to rent out thus becoming accidental landlords.This will keep rents at a reasonable level.Whilst there is a reluctance to lend,falling prices may tempt buy to lets back into the market thus driving competition.So in answer to your question,yes market forces in most areas will keep rents at an acceptable level .

  36. Colin
    “…a state of flux …”
    Had to look up the meanings of this, which includes…
    – the action or process of flowing or flowing out
    – an abnormal discharge of blood or other matter from or within the body
    – continuous change.

    Not sure which of these applies. ;-)

  37. There is no doubt that when all cuts are calculated an dplottin gof a map, Scotland will lose out disproportionately to England. It has been done through the back ground, very craftily, so that overal bloack ‘grant’ will not immediately throw it up. But the MOD cuts in particular, have been disproprtioately targetted at the Celtic regions. Cornwall will lose out on the Trident delay, Wales will lose out on the training corps, at Scotland will lose out with the closing of Kinloss and the Switching of dry dock facilities from Rosyth. This type of disproportionate targetting of the Celtic regions does nothing to bolster any concept of a ‘big society’ Or am I mistaken to think that that society si to extend beyond England?

  38. Eion: Given you previous pro-Ed Balls posts I took your highlighting of the supposed popularity of pre-New Labour to Blairite Labour that way. I’m happy to stand corrected.

    My point is that with the rise of the Lib Dems and the fringe parties (literally fringe in the case of the Celtic Nationalists) makes previous comparisons as to who is the ‘natural’ party of government misleading. Simply averaging vote shares whilst this decline is occuring is meaningless. 1945-1974 both main parties got over 40% of the vote. 1974-2001 generally one party got over 40%. Now neither party gets over 40%.

  39. Eion: Excuse my ignorance but how will Cornwall lose out on the Trident delay?

  40. MIKEN

    “- the action or process of flowing or flowing out
    – an abnormal discharge of blood or other matter from or within the body
    – continuous change.”

    Well I was thinking of the last one in my post.

    Now that GB is no longer involved I would discount the second.:-)

  41. DevonChap

    Speaking purely geographically, the concentration of Tory support in the SE of England, would make them a “fringe” party as well.

  42. MichaelB

    “Whilst there is a reluctance to lend,falling prices may tempt buy to lets back into the market thus driving competition.”

    This made me think. As I understand it many ‘buy to let’ morgage lenders require that the rent is considerably more than 100% of the monthly repayments. So, were the BoE base rate to increase, I assume that landlords will be obliged to increase their rents similarly?

  43. @OLD NAT
    Your information regarding Tory votes in Scotland, hardly invalidates my comment about Scotland not being a “blue country these days”.

  44. Old Nat,

    I know you’re partly teasing but I had a discussion recently on here with someone on that….

    If you eliminate all the South East England and Scotland seats, Blue still have 236 seats and Red 213 seats.

    So hardly a SE fringe party….. ;-)

  45. Roland

    I wasn’t invalidating it, I was confirming it – while also showing that “these days” are not out of step with previous generations.

    The only period when Scotland has elected a plurality of Tories, was those inter-war years, when the political focus was on the extremes of Fascism and Communism, and the middle ground was extremely hard to hold.

  46. EOIN
    You cannot have it both ways. Traditionally the left leaning Celtic regions have supported Labour and a big spend on all the usual social blotting paper. Defence ranks about 97th in order of priority with Plaid
    and the Scottish Nationalists. Now, a Tory government has been forced to make defence spending cuts due to shortage of money, dont cry about all the hardship it will cause. After all, weapons are bad and nuclear weapons are very very bad.

  47. @Mike N
    So, were the BoE base rate to increase, I assume that landlords will be obliged to increase their rents similarly.

    Of course,but with rates at an all time low,it should not be too difficult to fix for 5 years and get around 5 percent interest 3 bed house £175,000-£200,000
    150k mortgage @ 5 percent = £625 add £200 = £825.00 per month for 3 bed semi. Of course it’s much lower for flats two bed homes etc.Then 5 years time prices may be higher,better investment than leaving it in the building society.
    Crude figures I know,but at the moment very dooable.
    Depends on areas ,deposits etc .My guess is this would not be a surge of buy to lets these days,but might help buy up some stock and provide a home at a reasonable rent for those who cannot get a mortgage.Thus keepin rents stable.

  48. Hooded Man

    I see we are using different geographies. I was thinking of those parts of Britain (being a polling site I need to exclude Northern Ireland) SE of the geographical centre – whether that be the constituency of Hexham or Ribble Valley. :-)

  49. Roland

    “After all, weapons are bad and nuclear weapons are very very bad.”

    But to have to pay for bad things, without receiving any of the economic benefits of such spending is very, very, very bad.

  50. Old Nat,


    (Mind and not say ‘SE of England’ next time then…)

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