Today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has a fresh set of polling on Thursday’s strikes – full tabs are here.

On balance the public remain opposed to the government’s proposed changes to public sector pensions by 47% to 37%. However, while they oppose the pension changes, they also tend to oppose the strike – 40% of people support the teacher’s strike on Thursday, 49% of people oppose it.

The figure was not actually that different amongst parents of school age children – 39% of whom supported the strike, 51% of whom opposed it. Support was very marginally lower amongst GB adults for the civil servants striking than for the teachers – 38% supported their strike, 50% opposed it.

Looking at reactions to Michael Gove’s various comments, 28% of people said they would respect teachers less if they striked, 10% said they would respect them more and 55% no difference. Only 37% supported the idea of getting parents to help in schools to keep them open, with 52% opposed.

191 Responses to “Latest YouGov polling on teachers’ strike”

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  1. Crossbat11
    It wasn’t EP. But I see how you’re thinking.

    The one referred to resides at no 10.

  2. Mike


  3. @ Alec


    Just trying to imagine Annbel Goldie in lederhosen.

    Let’s go no further.”

    Lol. I think an outlandish outfit is just what a politician needs sometimes (depending on their personality and constituent base). Like Bella Abzug and her hats or Marion Berry in the 70’s with his dashikis or John Heilman in the 80’s with his flowing Roman style togas.

    Have you ever been to the New York City German Day Parade? (Or accidentally stumbled into it while on vacation and unaware that such a parade even existed?) I’ve never seen so many white people wearing lederhosen before in my life.

  4. While I’m waiting, here’s a link to “bad science” to do some early debunking.

    h ttp://

  5. Nick Poole

    On the few occasions I have attempted to post links on this site they have not been published or were delayed.

    Try Daily Telegraph 21 Jan 10 “Record gap between public and private sector pay”

  6. @ John B Dick

    “She’s a big girl.

    Last month she was about to sit down on the seat in the train next my wife who thought she was going to sit on our granddaughter’s birthday cake.”

    Lol, you guys are cruel. And harsh.

    Keep in mind that it is harder for a woman to lose weight than a man, especially at that age. And wasn’t there a study showing that 97% of Scots are overweight? That’s even worse than the U.S. (though I think we have far more obese people).

    Besides, she’s no bigger than Dennis Hastert.

  7. Ha ha. From your article:

    For many years public sector workers were paid less than those in the private sector, with workers willing to accept lower pay in return for greater job security and better pensions. However in the last decade public sector pay has increased at a far greater rate, with GP partners now earning £107,000 a year and many head teachers in secondary schools paid more than £100,000.

    Mr Philpott added that many of the most menial jobs in the public sector have been outsourced as part of Gordon Brown’s private finance initiatives, “leaving many in the public sector as well paid managers.”

    So GP partners and head teachers are paid more than outsourced cleaners? Are these like-for-like comparisons?

    Let’s have some facts please.

  8. And here is as comprehensive a debunk as you can get, using the IFS to prove the point:

    h ttp://

  9. The problem I have is that it only takes either careful reading or some googling to find out the truth about these scurrilous articles. Why would the Telegraph publish that article, when they can so quickly tell that the median is not the average and more to the point, you can’t compare the Head of a Department in the Public Sector to a Barman and conclude that the Public Sector has outstripped the Private.

    Even supposing the gap closes during a recession, it soon opens again in the good times. The justification for this attack seems to be that the recession will last for ever.

    Well I want to vote for a party that doesn’t believe that.

  10. mikems
    In which paragraph of the report does it say existing pensions are affordable?

    What the report does is link affordability and sustainablitity and produce proposals which are considered to be sustainable.

    In any event the concept of avoidability is meaningless in this context. Of course pensions are affordable on the basis taxes can always be raised to pay for them. The case for the pension changes which is very well put by Hutton is to have a fairer balance between tax payers and public sector pensioners.

    Given that all the indications are that Hutton’s recommendations are going to be closely followed by the Government your comments about the Tories seem to suggest you don’t think the Commission acted independently. It is interesting that very few Labour Party politicians (apart from Prescot) have criticised Lord Hutton or his report.

  11. @all

    At the risk of derailing the discussion (“All public sector workers earn >£100K and drive Bugatti Veyrons” vs “You don’t know the stress job security, 6 weeks holiday and a guaranteed pension can cause”) and segue-ing entirely, I have a question.

    How do you buy a Greek government bond?

    It’s just that what with everybody going “The yield has gone to 20%” or somesuch, and the FrancoGerman govts and banks throwing their children to the sharks to defend EUR, versus the UK government going “Sterling. Whatever.” and watching it dribble away (GBP just bust thru a 52 week low against EUR), I’m beginning to think the Euro is a one-way bet. Which returns me to my question.

    How do you buy a Greek government bond?

    The reason why I ask is because this is outside my knowledge zone and there are some smart people on here, so I thought I’d ask you guys. Any ideas?

    Regards, Martyn

  12. If the Government want to implement Hutton’s recommendations there still needs to be discussion about timescale, amount etc

    The problem is the Government wants to start collecting huge contribution increases very soon. It’s punitive and unacceptable. There will be strikes.

    They need to talk longer term…especially as the affordability argument is as you say Mike a complete non-starter. It was a lie, in fact. Now they have been found out they are reverting to the fairness and division approach.

  13. Shouldn’t our Governemt immediately invest all the pension contributions they get into Greek Bonds?

    That should provide a huge surplus in no time.

  14. Nick – that may not be entirely wise ;)

  15. @Nick

    If the UK Govt did that, then it’d have to sell GBP to buy EUR, buy the bond (in EUR), get the interest (also in EUR), sell the bond (in EUR) and convert it back to GBP. So that’s two sets of conversion costs and fluctuations in the exchange rate at both purchase and sale. You’d need interest of >20% to make it worthwhile.

    Governments don’t make money by speculating: they just print more money. A cow doesn’t invest its milk to make more milk, it just makes more milk.

    Regards, Martyn

  16. Is there a Tory in the house.

  17. Oh well, if we miss the boat on Greek Bonds, there’s a very generous loan to the Republic of Ireland to make us a bit of cash.

  18. @Nick

    Same problem arises.

    Regards, Martyn

  19. Martyn

    If Governments don’t make money except by printing it, why are we so scared of Bond Holders?

    After all we are currently inflating away our debts (and my wages) and the Bond Holders don’t seem to be squealing.

  20. Did anybody see Tom Watson have a go at Jeremy Hunt over Murdoch and bSkyB?

    True parliamentary drama, and Hunt looked uncomfortable throughout.

    h ttp://

  21. @Martyn – “How do you buy a Greek government bond?”

    Wrong question. You should be aasking ‘why would you want to buy a Greek bond?’.

    Yeilds are very high because the purchase price of the bond has fallen but as they are fixed interest assets the yield as a proportion of cost rises. High bond yields actually means lower value, with the value an indicator of the risk. You may get a good return and all the capital back, but then again, you might not.

    With all sensible assessments indicating Greece has to default on about 50% of the net debt, buying Greek bonds is a really really bad idea. Which is basically why it’s only yhe European Central Bank which is buying them right now.

  22. I must admit that this ‘public sector pay better than private sector’ is one of the oddest arguments I have seen as the examples given seem to show (as said previously) that a GP earns more than a barman – go figure.

    Some like for like comparisons would be better.

    I work in the private sector and the manager of our UK department in charge of 100-150 staff (20% highly technically qualified-PhD) earns around £120K. How does that compare with a similar manager in the public sector (he also has a non-contributory final salary pension)?

    How does a teacher in the independent sector compare salary wise with one in the state sector – do they use the same scales/pension?

  23. @Nick

    You said “…If Governments don’t make money except by printing it, why are we so scared of Bond Holders?…”

    Very good question. You are assuming that the Government are acting rationally and in the interest of the British people. Nobody ever considers the possibility that they may be daft, stupid or even malevolent… :-)

    On a side note, I’ve often wondered why Government doesn’t fund itself by simply printing money, instead of going thru this whole taxation malarky…:-)

    Regards, Martyn

  24. I can tell you that when I worked for the Employment Service the manager of a jobcentre was a Higher Executive Officer (my grade). Number of staff 100-odd.

    The TOP of the HEO pay scale in the Home Office is £30,000 give or take a hundred quid.

  25. Nick Poole

    Thanks for the response – in terms of the value added by our department I think he is worth it personally and he has a highly qualified staff to manage.

    Saying that, however, I think the comparison is relevant at a certain level and throws into doubt that this claim of higher public sector salaries

  26. I’m not sure we are comparing like with like, to be fair. The previous head of the UKBA was on £200,000 pa I think. Not sure. But that was a hell of a lot more staff under her.

    I think pay restraint at the top and a cap of executive pensions in the public sector wouldn’t go amiss. But the Senior Civil Service has its own union.

  27. How much is the public vs private figure distorted by the fact that all RBS/etc staff are now classified under the public sector?

    It distorted the public sector employment figures enough to add another 1% to the public vs private (i.e figure before bank take-overs was 20.5% of total employment, then went up to 21.4% after the first bank ‘take-over’).

    I will have to investigate..

  28. Most professors earn in the 65K range, teach postgraduate and undergraduate students and are in charge of several postdocs in their labs. A similarly qualified person in the private sector would be earning far in excess of that.

  29. @ Mike.

    I thought your 3.56 post the best today so far.
    It will be interesting to see the polls after todays events. I have just watched BBC News and despite the fact that they interviewed people in the North where Labour is stronger, the support for the strikers from parents of school children was almost non existant. Danny Alexander came across very well in interviews on both BBC & Sky this afternoon. I suspect the Government is winning the argument but we shall have to wait and see. Credit to Ed M for saying the strikers are wrong. I suspect that he also believes the Government is winning this one.

  30. Bazsc
    The FD of a local PCT in charge of about 30 staff had a salary of over £100k and has just been made redundant with a payout of £400k.

  31. @ Alec

    THanks-interesting ideas.

    I think there will be concessions-possibly on phasing.

    @ Roger Mexico

    Thanks !-must start to read the tabs as well as AW’s article :-)

    @ MIKEMS

    “But you can’t have read the Hutton report either, since it says that the schemes are affordable. ”

    If you are not refering to the now much publicised Chart 1B p23 please provide the Hutton Report reference for that statement.

    If you are refering to Chart 1B p23 please note that :-

    The Report makes clear that the reduction as % of GDP incorporates the effects of reforms to retirement ages & indexation.

    Chart 1B is a function of cost & GDP. The peak % displayed results from the collapse of UK GDP because of the recession.

    Discounting the recession driven peak , the chart shows a start point of 1.5% in 1999, and a terminal point in 2060 of 1.5%

    Chart 1B is a Fan Chart , and the terminal projection ranges from 1.3% of GDP to 1.5% of GDP.-the Report explains that “The fan chart shows how the projections would be affected by altering assumptions about productivity growth,public service workforce growth and life expectancy”

    Commentary on Chart 1B is stated as follows at para 1.4 :-
    “Future costs are inherently uncertain and sensitive to assumptions on life expectancy ,size of workforce, earnings growth and the implementation of reforms. Chart 1.B demonstrates the possible impact of altering some of these assumptions. Given the current
    design of public service pension schemes, the general public cannot be sure that schemes will
    remain sustainable in the future. “

  32. @ ALEC

    “With all sensible assessments indicating Greece has to default on about 50% of the net debt, ”

    I understood that the Sarkozy plan was for maturity dates of Greek Sovereign Debt to be extended-30 years was mentioned.

    I think German & French Banks are included in the proposal .

    This presumably kicks the can of short term rollover crises well down the road.

    The problem remains with the Mad Max world which is the Greek Public Finances , Tax collection, & Public Sector employment arrangements & State corporations.
    The more one reads of these extraordinary practices , one doubts their ability to do anything about theor deficit. And as for the Privatisation Programme , who is going to invest in a Greek State enterprise ? You would spend a decade getting the employment practices & benefits sorted out .

    And how are they going to grow their economy-what have they to trade overseas ?-Its going to take an awful lot of olive oil & retsina :-)

  33. @colin – the problem with the extended maturity date is that while is means they need to raise fewer bonds now, it simply extends the period that they have to pay the interest. As they can’t afford to pay the interest, I see little point in the plan, other than to delay the default until even more money has been pumped in.

    I bought a pot of Greek yoghurt today. Got home and found it half empty with a slight whiff of tear gas. Typical.

  34. I have just been stuck in Hereford station for an hour.The
    reason given was that there had been a strike on a bridge!
    All sort of scenarios presented themselves,Colonel Gadaffi,militant traffic wardens.It turned out to be Arriva
    train speak for a lorry hitting the bridge.Oh,the relief.

    If you had not posted your 6.41, I would have. I quite agree and got exactly the same impression as you.

  36. Interesting little snippet.

    The now well quoted Hutton report line about pension costs falling to 1.4% by 2060 isn’t the same as in the preliminary report.

    In this, it states that the cost of ‘unfunded’ public pensions falls to 1.4%, with the word ‘unfunded’ being dropped in the full report. Big difference, but we have to assume the latest version is correct.

  37. @Nick Poole

    Interesting link. Do the wages in nationalised banks counter as public sector these days?

  38. I wonder if there will be another poll soon on support for the strike, and whether public support will have increased or gone down? My guess is that the actual experience of inconvenience will reduce support, but i could be wrong.

  39. Pete B
    You never can tell. I had a wonderful day with the kids. Well worth a day’s pay (but the balance wouldn’t be the same if it was a frequent ocurrence).

  40. I think it will have inevitably gone down – they always do – and perhaps helped that it’s being argued by the government that it wasn’t effective and that many didn’t strike, making the strike seem like it was not only an inconvenience but a waste of time.

    I think that the public being originally split was pretty good going, going on what I’ve read of past strikes’ support and how this is a minority interest – and something the majority are being encouraged to see as protecting an unfair privilege by the government and its press.

  41. Alec

    I agree

    Hope you enjoyed the yoghurt :-)

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