The full tabs for this week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, as usual, it covered a range of different subjects. On the regular leadership trackers both Cameron and Miliband are largely unchanged – David Cameron’s approval rating is minus 9 (from minus 10 last week), Ed Miliband’s is minus 24 (from minus 23 last week). However, in both cases this is a continuation of a slow trend as the effect of hackgate fades – hence it is Cameron’s highest rating since June, and Miliband’s lowest since hackgate.

On Libya, 48% of people now think Cameron has handled it well, 31% badly. Unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority of people (71%) would like to see the suspects in Yvonne Fletcher’s murder extradited to Britain, but opinion on al-Megrahi has now swung against his extradition (presumably given he is semi-comatose and close to death). 29% still think he should be returned to Britain, 55% now think he should not.

On the economy, people are now more likely to have confidence is Osborne than Balls to make the right calls on the economy. 30% have a lot or a little confidence in Osborne, 24% in Balls (when YouGov asked the same question in February both were on 31%). 28% have confidence in Ed Miliband, 31% Vince Cable. David Cameron scores the highest, with 41% saying they have a lot or a little confidence in him making the right decisions on the running the economy.

45% of people think that taxes on the wealthy should be increased, compared to 35% thinking they should be kept as they are and 11% who think they should be cut. Amongst Conservative voters, 30% think they should be increased. On the specific case of the 50p tax rate, opinion seem to broadly think it is about right as it is – 21% think it should be higher than 50p, 24% think it should be lower, 48% think it is about right. Public opinion towards the banks remains extremely harsh. Hardly anyone (3%) thinks they have reformed their bonus culture, only 14% think they have reformed their practices. 77% think the government have been too soft on them and 59% of people would support separating retail and investment banking, with only 9% opposed.

Looking at the other subjects in this week’s poll, opinion on free schools is still quite divided – 35% support them, 38% oppose them. There’s a similar division on whether people think Labour should support or oppose them – amongst Labour’s own supporters, 49% think the party should oppose free schools, 20% think they should support them, 31% say neither or don’t know. On roads, 39% would support increasing the speed limit on motorways. Half of respondents support building more motorways at taxpayers’ expense, 36% would support building new toll motorways. 40% of people perceive the government as too anti-motorist, with 24% thinking they get it about right and 8% thinking they are too pro-motorist.


232 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. Looking at the voting on the additional rate if income tax, this suggest it would be very unpopular for GO to abolish or reduce it.

  2. Confirms to me that, we, labour still have a lot of convicing to do and that as lonmg as the Economy is notv dire at the mext GE th Consevratives will get the benefit of the doubt from enough floaters to be at least the largest party again and may be enough to win outright.

  3. sorry about many typos abov.e – dreadful

  4. The above polling suggests that a new motorway from London to the North of England would be somewhat more popular than the white elephant of HS2 – so much for the green lobby! Most people in the North can’t afford the existing rail fares to London, (e.g. £275 for a standard return from Macclesfield), never mind what the fares would be on HS2.

  5. As always, there seems no real link between policy polling and voter intent. With policy polling going against what the Government intends to do… To a great deal this is because a lot of people don’t know Government policy until *after* it becomes law or a big news story.

    Again, I think we’re in for a series of ‘shocks’ over things we know to be coming up. NHS Reforms, Single Room Rate changes bringing in another round of housing benefit cuts and one that could hit the bank-of-mom-and-dad middle classes, a divisive Bank Reforms debate…

    The first shock is probably on us. The significant drop in course places in university this year mean a lot of disappointed middle class families.

    Of course, as we’re entering the autumn conference season, polling will be meaningless as the parties will get a very short-term wobble around as they take their turns being in the news surrounded by cheering crowds. So we’re not really going to know when the Libya bloom wears off from polling unless it does so quickly. Altho, there is a chance of it wearing off pretty quickly if the interim Libyan council denounce the UK for cooperating with Gaddafi.

  6. Yeah, well, anyone who pays £275 for a rail ticket from Macc to London deserves to be parted from their money. I have made 17 rail trips from Sheffield to London in the last year, both business and personal, and never paid more than 50 quid. It’s both better value and infinite more relaxing than driving, but you’ll never get the car lobby to agree with that. Never have quite understood why.

  7. “Most people in the North can’t afford the existing rail fares to London, (e.g. £275 for a standard return from Macclesfield), never mind what the fares would be on HS2.

    Except that there’s absolutely no need to pay that amount of money for a return rail ticket unless you need to arrive in London very early in the morning (which almost all non-business travellers don’t). These prices are quoted almost exclusively by people trying to prove a point on how expensive rail travel is whilst ignoring all of the cheaper fares, both walk-on fares and advance booking. (It’s not unusual to quote the most expensive rail fares against the cheapest air fares.)

    Anyway, just wait till oil prices go through the roof. That’ll be fun.

  8. @Daodao

    There’s a very good chance that HS2 will reduce fares on the midlands rail corridor. The prices are so high there right now because there’s a very limited capacity of product (seats on a limited number of trains) going to a high amount of customer demand. Demand regularly outstrips supply on the lines between London and Birmingham, as anyone who’s had the misfortune to try and travel on the wrong day during a music festival will tell you.

    There are lots of little, but joined up, projects that are constantly increasing capacity on the line. But it’s not keeping up with the increase in demand, and the midlands rail corridor will be entirely at capacity within a decade.

    With HS2, the capacity between London and Birmingham will be dramatically increased. By moving London express services off onto their own track, freight and regional services are going to have a lot more slack.

  9. Also, if you go non-direct you can usually save vast amounts of money. I have to catch the Bristol-Nottingham quite early in the morning on a fairly regular basis, but I cut the ticket price by over £40 by routing through Gloucester instead of going direct. You just have to be careful about how you plan your route.

  10. Alec

    “@Rob Sheffield – re the planning proposals. You posted a lot on this and clearly know something about planning, so you might be able to help me.”

    IMHO the best and most balanced analysis is here:

    http://www.beyondgreen.co.uk/library/2011/08/12/the-draft-national-planning-policy-framework-sustainable-development-%E2%80%9Cwhere-practical%E2%80%9D/

    The big shift- from cuddly 2010 ‘localism’ to the ‘growth agenda’ 2011 actually originally occurred (was signposted) with this statement appended to the March 2011 budget (and principles since enshrined in the NPPF)

    http://www.communities.gov.uk/statements/corporate/planningforgrowth

    quoting “The Government’s top priority in reforming the planning system is to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs. Government’s clear expectation is that the answer to development and growth should wherever possible be ‘yes’, except where this would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy.” / “When deciding whether to grant planning permission, local planning authorities should support enterprise and facilitate housing, economic and other forms of sustainable development.” / “Benefits to the economy should, where relevant, be an important consideration when other development-related consents are being determined, including heritage, environmental, energy and transport consents”.

    The hierarchy of planning documents (as proposed) are the Planning Acts (as amended and added to by Localism bill), the NPPF, the local plan and then any neighbourhood plans that get formulated. NP’s have to be consistent with the LP’s which has to be consistent with the NPPF etc. The NPPF is replacing ‘planning policy statements’ (first introduced under Thatcher as PPG’s…..): EACH of which was concerned with a certain area of policy/ a certain topic (Housing, Green Belts etc) and gave detailed guidance to local councils (and Parish councils) about both how to plan (zone) for that type of development/ topic and how to manage development in their localities. There are 21 of them (although the top number is PPS 25 but several have gone in last decade).

    h ttp://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningsystem/planningpolicy/planningpolicystatements/

    That is Labours “top down centralist” planning approach (largely inherited in 1997 it has to be said). The NPPF is around 5% the size of the existing planning policy framework (its 50 pages replaces just over a 1000 pages NOT the 6000 that Shapps orgasmically uses = that includes appendices and supplemental texts- just as the NPPF eventually will have): you could argue its 5% as many words or you might just as well say its 95% less support for local councils or its only 5% as good. The NPPF is here

    h ttp://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframework

    The NPPF makes three very interesting assertions (in summary):

    1) That development that is compatible with the governments definition of ‘sustainable development’ should be allowed automatically;
    2) That economic growth and/ or jobs should outweigh other material considerations
    3) That where a local plan is out-of-date, absent, silent or incomplete the default (automatic) answer to any application for development is ‘yes’. The government are giving local councils 6 months to not be absent, silent or incomplete (i.e. get in place fully adopted local plans) at a time when council planning departments are sacking staff and not replacing those that leave/ retire due to local government cuts.

    We had a major reform in 2004 to the planning system (especially the form and content of local plans) and currently SEVENTY per cent of local councils have plans which in some way are not fully adopted (out-of-date, absent, silent or incomplete). This falls disproportionately on rural district and county councils (as opposed to urban councils) as they historically did not have staffing levels to the same degree as major urban councils did. IMHO the first U turn by Clark will be to extend the 6 month deadline for councils to get fully adopted local plans in place- so as to avoid a 100% permission rate for planning applications !!

    The definition of ‘sustainable development’ has been criticised almost across the board outside of government blindly-supporting circles. But perhaps the worst fact (and dare I say it typical of this administration and its muddles) is that- with the NPPF- the government now has THREE separate definitions of what sustainable development is. The official definition is from the UK (not just English) Sustainable Development Strategy (Securing the Future). Which remains in force, and at least merits a footnote in the NPPF but doesn’t get one. Neither mentioned is the coalition government’s Statement ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Development’. Again unless DCLG wants to plough a different furrow on Sustainable Development than DEFRA there should be at least a footnote mention (but there isn’t). Finally there is the older definition from Brundtland used in the NPPF. What this means is that the government now has three different definitions of sustainable development – very confusing. The issue of the Brundtland definition is that by itself it is uncontentious, it is simply a requirement not to be unsustainable, but to be meaningful in policy terms you need to add flesh to the bones (i.e. detail and on each policy topic) and have a policy framework which is positive about the sustainable actions required. Which- of course- is arguably what the PPS approach under Blair-Brown (and PPG approach under Thatcher-Major) did very well and that the NPPF fails miserably on.

    This is what Johnathan Porritt has called the definition- “SD-abuse”: the deliberate misuse of the concept of sustainable development by Ministers and civil servants to obscure the real meaning of their words… I could not find one single reference to the notion of environmental limits. Not one. Lots of warm words about the importance of the environment, but nothing of real use in defining what appropriate or inappropriate development might mean in practice. “ Whilst Tom Burke of the Green Alliance has stated “What the Government actually means by ‘Sustainable Development’ is the tired old Treasury mantra of ‘Sustained Growth’: that is, growth that goes on forever. It definitely does not mean growth that recognises environmental risks and constraints” IMHO this is the single greatest weakness of the NPPF. A presumption in favour of sustainable development badly defined and poorly operationalised, as here, is simply a presumption in favour of development without limits – unsustainable development. The governments own 1 page recently released advice to its own Planning Inspectorate is instructive also:

    h ttp://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/pins/advice_for_inspectors/nppf_consult.pdf

    Lastly- and not yet a part of the current Telegraph et al controversy- the NPPF makes it less likely that local people can decide neighbourhood plans that protect local assets as this is against ‘economic growth’: whatever neighbourhood plans say applications that meet the economic growth ‘test’ are- under the current proposals- likely to trump any protective neighbourhood plan created by local people. Furthermore recent additional clauses at report stage to the localism bill giver private firms and local businesses the power to make neighbourhood plans. Yes they have to be compatible with the local plan but still more opportunity to reorient the local development/ agenda away from that which local people might prefer (not just in terms of quantity of development, but type also).

  11. LDs are getting better publicity – Clegg telling Gove not to allow people to make profits fom free schools and Shirley Williams continuing to talk a lot of sense on the NHS – today’s revelations that plans are afoot to sell off 10-20 hospital trusts to the international private sector is going to liven things up with the NHS debate resuming in the Commons on Tuesday.

    There’s going to be some difficult publicity for Labour with the Darling memoirs and I don’t thing VI opinion is going to settle down until November when Libya will not be the lead story day after to day, the Conferences will be out of the way and cuts and hacking will be back in focus. Labour’s lead by the first week in Decmber will be 10% and I’d put a tenner on this at odds of 4-1!

  12. Alec

    “@Rob Sheffiled – re the planning proposals. You posted a lot on this and clearly know something about planning, so you might be able to help me.”

    IMHO the best and most balanced analysis is here:

    http://www.beyondgreen.co.uk/library/2011/08/12/the-draft-national-planning-policy-framework-sustainable-development-%E2%80%9Cwhere-practical%E2%80%9D/

    The big shift- from cuddly 2010 ‘localism’ to the ‘growth agenda’ actually originally occurred (was signposted) with this statement appended to the March 2011 budget (and since enshrined in the NPPF)

    H ttp://www.communities.gov.uk/statements/corporate/planningforgrowth

    quoting “The Government’s top priority in reforming the planning system is to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs. Government’s clear expectation is that the answer to development and growth should wherever possible be ‘yes’, except where this would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy.” / “When deciding whether to grant planning permission, local planning authorities should support enterprise and facilitate housing, economic and other forms of sustainable development.”

    What the current controversy is about is a document called the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and NOT the Localism bill as was introduced into the house in December 2010. The hierarchy of planning documents (as proposed) are the Planning Acts (as amended and added to by Localism bill), the NPPF, The local plan and then any neighbourhood plans that get formulated. NP have to be consistent with the LP which has to be consistent with the NPPF etc. The NPPF is replacing ‘planning policy statements’ (first introduced under Thatcher as PPG’s…..): EACH of which was concerned with a certain area of policy/ a certain topic (Housing, Green Belts etc) and gave detailed guidance to local councils (and Parish councils) about both how to plan (zone) for that type of development/ topic and how to manage development in their localities. There are 21 of them (although the top number is PPS 25 but several have gone in last decade).

    H ttp://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningsystem/planningpolicy/planningpolicystatements/

    That is Labours “top down centralist” planning approach (largely inherited I 1997 it has to be said). The NPPF is around 5% the size of the existing planning policy framework (it replaces just over a 1000 words NOT the 6000 that Shapps orgasmically uses that includes appendices and supplemental texts-just as the NPPF will have): you could argue its 5% as many words or you might just as well say its 95% less support or its only 5% as good. The NPPF is here

    H ttp://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframework

    The NPPF makes three very interesting assertions (in summary):

    1) That development that is compatible with the governments definition of ‘sustainable development’ should be allowed automatically;
    2) That economic growth and/ or jobs should outweigh other material considerations
    3) That where a local plan is out-of-date, absent, silent or incomplete the default (automatic) answer to any application for development is ‘yes’. The government are giving local councils 6 months to not be absent, silent or incomplete (i.e. get in place fully adopted local plans) at a time when council planning departments are sacking staff and not replacing those that leave/ retire.

    We had a major reform in 2004 to the planning system (especially the form and content of local plans) and currently SEVENTY per cent of local councils have plans which in some way are not fully adopted (out-of-date, absent, silent or incomplete). This falls disproportionately on rural district and county councils (as opposed to urban councils) as they historically did not have staffing levels to the same degree as urban councils did. IMHO the first U turn by Clark will be to extend the 6 month deadline for councils to get fully adopted local plans so as to avois a 100% permission rate for planning applications !!.

    The definition of ‘sustainable development’ has been criticised almost across the board outside of government blindly-supporting circles. But perhaps the worst fact (and dare I say it typical of this administration and its muddles) is that- with the NPPF- the government now has THREE separate definitions of what sustainable development is. The official definition is from the UK (not just English) Sustainable Development Strategy (Securing the Future). Which remains in force, and at least merits a footnote in the NPPF but doesn’t get one. Neither mentioned is the coalition government’s Statement ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Development’. Again unless DCLG wants to plough a different furrow on Sustainable Development than DEFRA there should be at least a footnote mention (but there isn’t). Finally there is the older definition from Brundtland used in the NPPF. What this means is that the government now has three different definitions of sustainable development – very confusing. The issue of the Brundtland definition is that by itself it is uncontentious, it is simply a requirement not to be unsustainable, but to be meaningful in policy terms you need to add flesh to the bones and have a policy framework which is positive about the sustainable actions required. Which- of course- is arguably what the PPS approach under Blair-Brown (and PPG approach under Thatcher-Major) did very well and that the NPPF fails miserably on.

    This is what Johnathan Porritt has called the definition- “SD-abuse”: the deliberate misuse of the concept of sustainable development by Ministers and civil servants to obscure the real meaning of their words… I could not find one single reference to the notion of environmental limits. Not one. Lots of warm words about the importance of the environment, but nothing of real use in defining what appropriate or inappropriate development might mean in practice. “ Whilst Tom Burke of the Green Alliance has stated “What the Government actually means by ‘Sustainable Development’ is the tired old Treasury mantra of ‘Sustained Growth’: that is, growth that goes on forever. It definitely does not mean growth that recognises environmental risks and constraints” IMHO this is the single greatest weakness of the NPPF. A presumption in favour of sustainable development badly defined and poorly operationalised, as here, is simply a presumption in favour of development without limits – unsustainable development. The governments own 1 page recently released advice to its own Planning Inspectorate is instructive also:

    H ttp://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/pins/advice_for_inspectors/nppf_consult.pdf

    Lastly- and not yet a part of the current Telegrpah et al controversy- the NPPF makes it less likely that local people can decide neighbourhood plans that protect local assets as this is against ‘economic growth’: whatever neighbourhood plans say applications that meet the economic growth ‘test’ are- under the current proposals- likely to trump any protective neighbourhood plan created by local people. Furthermore recent additional clauses at report stage to the localism bill giver private firms and local businesses the power to make neighbourhood plans. Yes they have to be compatible with the local plan but still more opportunity to reorient the local development/ agenda away from that which local people might prefer (not just in terms of quantity of development, but type also).

  13. thetrainline.com is advertising tickets from B’ham to Euston for £6 single during September & beyond. Why would anybody pay £200+?

    A good capital project would be to continue the M11 to Newcastle via the Humber Bridge as originally envisaged but we’ll be in the next financial crisis before a shovel could be lifted.

  14. @Anthony Wells

    Cross-referencing with the Other Place, a poster there makes an interesting point[1] regarding the proposed dissolution of the Scottish Conservative Party.

    He points out that if SCON ceases to be part of the UKCONs, then the polls will have to take that into account. Consequently, the UKCON polled share of the vote in Scotland will be deemed to be zero.

    This will immediately knock ~2-5%[2] off their UK-wide poll rating.

    It’s no use saying “Oh, they’ll take the UKCON whip in the UK parliament”, because the NI Unionists already do that and they’re not counted as UKCONs

    So my question for you is: how will YouGove handle it if the Scottish Conservative Party dissolve themselves?

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] h ttp://www6.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2011/09/04/on-an-amazing-morning-my-choice-for-the-biggest-story/#comment-2129997
    [2] figures invented off the top of my head: please replace with better ones if you know of them

  15. Er, “YouGov”, not “YouGove”: apols… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  16. Martyn

    re “amazing morning”

    Mike “Ilib dem” Smithson appears to have overlooked probably the major story (at least in terms of the front pages) this Sunday morning.

    The Observers splash here

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/sep/03/shirley-williams-nhs-reforms-turmoil

    Oh of COURSE: that one is trouble for the coalition ;-)

    Plus IMHO is going to be much more relevant for UK politics going forward than whether Brown head butted Darling a couple of years ago or what more ‘Blair cosying up to the Americans back-in-the-day’ crops up.

  17. “The NPPF is around 5% the size of the existing planning policy framework (it replaces just over a 1000 words NOT the 6000 that Shapps orgasmically uses that includes appendices and supplemental texts-just as the NPPF will have): you could argue its 5% as many words or you might just as well say its 95% less support or its only 5% as good”

    for ‘words’ read- of course- PAGES :D

  18. Tingedfringe,
    ‘Would the Tories risk a general election to get a full majority, arguing that the ‘soft on crime, soft on reform’ LibDems (esp if they make conference noise) are holding them back’

    How will Cameron be able to do this once the Fixed Term Act comes into force? I find it difficult to imagine 2/3 of MPs agreeing to such a course – as required by the new legislation.
    Indeed there is a good chance he would be denied a dissolution even before the Bill becomes law if Milliband and Clegg can put together an alternative Government supported by the various smaller parties.

  19. @RobS

    On the BBC website:

    * In terms of prominence, BBC lead with Darling 1st, SCON dissolution 2nd.
    * In terms of eyeballs, the “most read” give Darling 1st, SCON dissolution 3rd
    * In terms of comments, SCON dissolution>Darling

    If the BBC website does mention your linked NHS story, I can’t see it.

    So, without prejudice to whether the NHS story will be more important in future, or whether it is more important now in terms of votes, I’d have to say that it is attracting little attention today.

    Regards, Martyn

  20. Martyn

    Using the BBC as an arbiter of news-worthiness is rather a hostage to fortune is it not ;-)

  21. If you are going to improve London-north road links, it would make a lot more sense to convert more stretches of the A1 to A1(M) before we start thinking of building completely new motorways.

    Mind you, I’d be a lot happier if they looked at the A1 between Newcastle and Edinburgh first. After all the money that’s gone in to making Carlisle to Glasgow a continuous three-lane motorway, it’s ridiculous that the equally important route along the east coast is still mostly a single carriageway.

  22. Martyn

    BTW a link to it on news front page

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14778406

    Not trying very hard to find it perchance- not with those (yawn) juicy Brown headlines ;-)

  23. (Reposted with delinked links to get past moderation)

    @RobS

    You said “…Using the BBC as an arbiter of news-worthiness is rather a hostage to fortune is it not …”

    Fair enough. However, consulting this YouGov website, the BBC News website, the Channel 4 News website, and the ITN website, we see that they also do not focus on the NHS story.

    You then said “…Not trying very hard to find it perchance…”

    No I wasn’t trying very hard – that’s the point. Neither was I trying very hard to find the Darling story, the Libya story, the Strauss-Kahn story, the 9/11 anniversary stories, nor the SCON dissolution story. I found the latter without effort because the news websites prioritised them, wheras to find the NHS story requires effort because the news websites deprioritised it.

    Given the NHS story’s failure to impact those news websites, we can conclude that they do not share your assessment of its importance.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go have lunch.

    Regards, Martyn

    * h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
    * h ttp://www.channel4.com/news/
    * h ttp://www.itn.co.uk/

  24. Maryn

    “No I wasn’t trying very hard – that’s the point. ”

    Nice tip toe around the irony of my post ;-)

    Of course- to spell it out for you- I meant that it WAS NOT very hard to find at all !

    Its in the group of ‘important stories’ just below headline three- staring right into the viewers face.

    Go have a read of it.

  25. @Rob Sheffield – thanks for the information. It helps to explain the controversy pretty well. I’m very familiar with current planning procedures but have’t had time to follow the NPPF details but the direction of travel seems clear.

  26. It’s funny, the NHS story was at the top of the BBC headlines early this morning but quietly got demoted to not-particularly-prominent, while the reverse happened to the Brown story. One would think news should take priority over what is basically celeb gossip.

  27. Martyn – good question, I pondered the same upon seeing the story yesterday. The comparison isn’t with the Ulster Unionists, while on occassion some of them have taken the Tory whip, they haven’t formally been part of the Parliamentary Tory party since the 1970s (plus, of course, normal polls don’t cover Northern Ireland anyway).

    Off the top of my head the best course of action would probably be to give different question options to respondents in Scotland, so respondents in England get Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem as their options, respondents in Scotland get Unionist*, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP as their options. Then collate them together afterwards and give a share of the vote for Conservative/Unionist, given they’ll be in a full electoral pact with the Tories – much as most German polls tend to give a combined figure for CDU/CSU.

    The alternatives would be just to change the wording on the question options so it says “Conservative/Unionist” for everyone… but if the Scottish Tories new party is all about presenting themselves as different to the Conservatives that would perhaps be rather unfair to them.

    Incidentally, the Scottish Conservatives got about 1.4% of the national vote at the last election.

    (*for the sake of argument)

  28. @Alec

    These are the four changes mooted by CPRE

    “Four key changes needed to the draft NPPF:

    1) Recognise the intrinsic value of ordinary, unprotected countryside and coast which covers around half of England, and stronger policies to protect the Green Belt and specially designated areas.

    2) Define sustainable development so that it takes full account of environmental factors and limits, rather than promoting economic development at any cost.

    3) Retain the ‘brownfield first’ policy so that previously developed land is used to meet development needs before greenfield sites.

    4) Promote planning policies which reduce the need to travel and support sustainable travel choices through mixed use development at reasonable densities close to existing infrastructure. ”

    I expect to see a U turn on (3);

    Most probably to some degree on (1)- government is saying it already does (so it has to make it far more explicit to Planning silks representing volume house builders, waste management multi nationals and energy companies cannot make hay with the textual ambiguity/ lack of precision;

    Perhaps on (2) though only if the heat of the opposition (especially that from within the governing parties) gets more intense. Lid Dems are interesting here as they have been absolutely silent since posters like Mark Pack smugly championed the very localism that is threatened by the NPPF back in late 2010/ early 2011. Absolutely no comments as far as I can see by senior lib dems on this NPPF controversy;

    No chance IMO on (4).

  29. Seems a pretty disasterous poll for Labour, given the government is at its nadir of the cuts and the economic cycle.

    If the economy picks up nicely from 2013, as the government is hoping, Labour will be in big, big, trouble.

  30. @Alec

    Much has been written about deficit reduction plans but what has actually been achieved. Monthly borrowing figures in the UK continue to disappoint especially as tax revenues have held up better than expected but spending continues to rise even with unempolyment fairly static. Many cuts are in fact a reduction in future planned spending increases. The whole argument last month about the US budget ceiling was the degree of increase in that ceiling. It may have been portrayed as a battle about cuts but it was a battle about increased spending.

    On a flow of funds analysis a rise in govt debt is matched by a rise in the private sector surplus, nothwithstanding transient external flows. As the govt fails to reduce its own borrowing so the personal sector continues to repay its own debt slowing consumption and the corporate sector adds to their very healthy reserves rather than begin productive investment. IMHO there lies the problem. The govt has failed to reduce its own expenditure and this must be matched by a rise in the private sector surplus stopping the two engines of growth, consumption and investment.

    The austerity that is being experienced is down to that most pernicious of stealth taxes, namely inflation. It is hitting people in their purchasing power. This rise in inflation is probably the delayed effect of QE worldwide. The slowdown in the global economy should and will force commodity prices lower. IMHO the inflation story will recede and the key issue will be the lack of growth. It will be a very long and painful decade of negligible growth because govts do not have the will to reduce their own expenditure.

    All the quick fixes of fiscal boost, zero interest rates and QE have been tried with only temporary effect.All these are just delaying the inevitable pain and pushing it onto another generation as the fiscal and monetary measures will all need to be reversed at some later stage. My best strategy would be for govt to do as little as possible and let time and low inflation allow the necessary adjustments, a strategy that does not appeal to the electoral cycle. Any move towards deflation would allow further QE which should be targetted away from financial assets to the construction industry by buying bonds from a newly formed Bank for Reconstruction.

  31. “If the economy picks up nicely from 2013, as the government is hoping, Labour will be in big, big, trouble.”
    This talking point keeps appearing but it’s not necessarily true.
    1992-1997 is a good example.

    What the big risk is, for the coalition, is if they don’t return to spending if growth comes back – polling shows that the public want spending cuts to be temporary, an opinion shared largely by Tory voters.
    If we have the next election about *spending* and not the economic risks, the Tories still might not win.

    That is, of course, an argument that is a long way away – who knows what is going to happen between the Blairite/EverybodyElse wings of the Labour party.

    This is one thing that strikes me as odd about party loyalty – The Social-Democrat wing of the LibDems is ideologically similar to the Liberal/SD wing of Labour.
    The Blairites and the Orange-Book-LibDems are similar to the Liberal-Conservative/Cameroon wing of the Tory party.
    And the Tory-right are almost identical to UKIPers.

    Surely what British politics needs is a realignment in to three parties?
    Social-Democratic Left, Liberal-Right and Euroskeptic/Conservative-Right.
    With the assumption of a permanent coalition between the Liberal(Right) and Conservative parties – much like the Australian set-up?

  32. @Aleksander – “As the govt fails to reduce its own borrowing so the personal sector continues to repay its own debt slowing consumption and the corporate sector adds to their very healthy reserves rather than begin productive investment. IMHO there lies the problem.”

    Except that the critical flaw in this analysis is that Osborne is relying on a huge increase in net household debt. The OBR figures assume that households will respond to austerity by increasing net indebtedness by something like £300b from memory. Total UK debt by 2015 will be higher than today. By ignoring growth, Osborne is increasing debts levels.

    It’s suicidal.

  33. It’s true what Tinged Fringe is saying. Conventional wisdom says that the tories will win if the economy is doing well in 2015.

    But conventional wisdom also says people turn to labour in the good times and the Tories in the bad.

    I’m not sure that conventional wisdom tells us anything at all!

  34. @TINTEDFRINGE

    The difference with the ’92-’97 era was that the Conservatives of 1997 couldn’t blame Labour for any dissatisfaction from opposition voters. In 2015, if there’s an upturn, voters with a memory longer than five years will remember the 2007-2010 period.

  35. @ALEC

    “The OBR figures assume that households will respond to austerity by increasing net indebtedness by something like £300b from memory. Total UK debt by 2015 will be higher than today. By ignoring growth, Osborne is increasing debts levels.”

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14628875

    Householders and businesses are reducing their debt.It not only explains why the highstreet has seen a reduction of spending, but explains why growth is so low. People are trying stay within their means.

  36. Statgeek

    I think that’s preciesly Alec’s point. Budget growth forecasts are based on a presumption of increased personal debt. If people retrench instead then where does that leave the growth and the deficit reduction forecasts?

  37. @Jayblanc

    There’s more to the Midlands than Birmingham. As one example, HS2 is expected to eliminate two thirds of the trains between Coventry and London, making that journey both longer and more expensive.

    Also, by moving Birmingham-London passengers onto high speed rail, the chances are that fares for that journey will rise (HS2 prices will be extortionate compared to the cost of other rail tickets). And the benefits won’t turn up for a couple of decades at best.

  38. Telegraph on forecasts about the boundary changes and reduction in constituencies:

    The forecasts were produced by Lewis Baston, senior research fellow at Democratic Audit, a study group based at the University of Liverpool.

    He applied the rules being used by the Boundary Commission for England, which say that seats must have between 72,810 and 80,473 voters, follow council boundaries where possible, and respect local tradition.

    Overall, Mr Baston believes, the changes will cost Labour 18 seats across the UK, the Tories 15, the Lib Dems 14 and other parties three. The impact would be particularly hard on the Lib Dems, who stand to lose a quarter of their 57 seats.

    A separate forecasting exercise by Rob Hayward, a former Conservative MP, found that Labour were set to lose around 25 seats, the Tories around 15 and the Lib Dems around 10.

    Speculation that Lib Dems (and some Tories) might rebel. Where would that leave the whole bill?

  39. Lots of interesting stuff as usual in the ST poll, put I’m a little unhappy with the questions on ‘free’ schools. The first states:

    Do you support or oppose the creation of “Free
    Schools” – new state schools set up by parents,
    teachers or voluntary groups which are outside
    the control of local authorities?

    Now the trouble with this is that the first batch of 24 schools doesn’t match this description It’s difficult to get a complete list of the 24 (even the ‘New Schools Network’ seems more interested in saying “look what press coverage we’re getting” than actually providing information) but it’s clear that most of the 24 don’t really fall in that description. Some are religious schools – which we know are unpopular with the public. Some have been set up by commercial organisations and some are existing public schools wanting state support.

    I know YouGov’s description is what the schools were advertised as being and of course some parents and teachers are going to be involved in them – no one’s suggested a school for orphans taught by computers. But the reality, at least of the first batch is different and if this had been reflected the public response would be different.

  40. Nick –

    Lewis’s projections are quite old news – we discussed them back in June http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/category/boundary-review

    The Bill is no longer a Bill, it’s recieved royal assent, it’s an Act. The new rules for boundary reviews are in place and until a future government amends or reforms it nothing changes that.

    The speculation on rebellions is about the Parliamentary votes to approve the implementation of this particular review, carried out under those new rules. Once the boundary commissions have done their job the government must lay their report before Parliament, which votes to approve it.

    In the 3rd, 4th and 5th review this was a formality (though Michael Foot attempted to block the 3rd review through court action), the implementation of the second review in 1969 was the last time this vote was controversial, where the government was compelled to present the Boundary Commissions report to the House, but then instructed its own MPs to vote it down. The 2nd review was therefore only implemented after the Conservatives won the election in 1970.

    I suspect the chances of it being voted down in the Commons this time are being rather exaggerated. The House of Lords is less predictable…

  41. It will actually be quite exciting to see how well the Scottish Tories do under a new flag. I am very sceptical that rebranding, Bavarianism & the rest of the icing makes much difference, when it’s basically the same cake underneath… but I’m ready & willing to be proved wrong.
    8-)

  42. Nick Poole

    “Overall, Mr Baston believes, the changes will cost Labour 18 seats across the UK, the Tories 15, the Lib Dems 14 and other parties three. The impact would be particularly hard on the Lib Dems, who stand to lose a quarter of their 57 seats. A separate forecasting exercise by Rob Hayward, a former Conservative MP, found that Labour were set to lose around 25 seats, the Tories around 15 and the Lib Dems around 10. ”

    Even a mid point between these two projections is going to infuriate Tories- who anticipated that this exercise was going to hand them the next election on a plate (I can’t wait to do a bit of lurking on PB, CH and DT when the review is published); it will send the Lib Dems into howls of shocked disappointment.

    But there won’t be a rebellion on it: though it will undoubtedly raise the tension and make rebellion by proxy on other matters more likely. No (direct) rebellion because- as AW points out- the bill got assent.

    Mainly because it was locked together with the AV proposals (Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011). Dave made sure of that vice like grip- despite the best efforts of members from all sides in the Lords to separate out the two elements.

    So the Lib Dems did what may end up being- for a lot more than they expected- a ‘Turkey and xmas’ thing by voting through the bill: gazing longingly at the AV referendum element and most probably repressing the boundary review element! In retrospect arguably a major strategic error by Nick and co- so blinded by possible electoral reform were they.

    Being- in the main- on the Labour side of the fence, I was expecting far worse projections than Haywards so back in June I had a wry but satisfied smile on my face.

  43. ‘GIN
    Seems a pretty disasterous poll for Labour, given the government is at its nadir of the cuts and the economic cycle.’

    No its not. The impact of the cuts is just starting to hit. Try the cuts in the army and the public service which are just impacting…

  44. @Anthony Wells

    Thank you for the prompt reply: I appreciate your answer.

    Regards, Martyn

  45. A very sensible non-P post from Labours Jim Jam at the beginning of the thread, very encouraging. It seems to me that some of the “issue” polling figures can tell us a great deal about the actual core political mentality of the public.They may currently give Labour a small lead, because the doom and gloom and virtual end of growth dictates it. However, when one looks at leadership confidence, bad though it is for all of them, also the view on political issues where for example Amber and myself would take completely opposite positions, things are far from left of centre. There is certainly no forceful Tory fanclub, but there is very little support for Labour thinking at all.

  46. @Alec

    For the public sector deficit to fall there is a requirement for the private sector surpus to fall and vice versa.This is the logical long-term outcome of a flow of funds analysis ignoring external financing. The private sector can reduce its surplus by spending or by increasing its indebtedness. For there to be a deficit reduction plan then there must follow a reduction in the private sector surplus through an increase in personal debt, consumption or investment. Considering the short-term external flows then the recent safe haven inflows have allowed a temporary delay in these adjustments.

    If the govt deficit starts to fall then at the personal level consumption must increase and/or personal debt must rise. Similarly corporate surpluses must be invested.They are different sides of the same coin. Neither sector is reducing their surplus as the govt is not reducing its deficit yet.

    @Woodsman

    ‘ If people retrench instead then where does that leave the growth and the deficit reduction forecasts?’

    If the private sector surplus continues to rise as people pay off debt and stop consuming then there are two possible outcomes. One is that the public sector deficit continues to rise and the outcome depends on how that is spent and how that is perceived internationally.The other possible outcome is that the surplus is moved offshore through massive capital outflows leading to higher interest rates, lower sterling and panic.To my mind it is imperative in the long-term to reduce the private sector surplus and that requires a reduction in the public sector deficit. Short-term foreign inflows can help the adjustment as in the early 80s but are very fickle.

  47. @amber
    Having just said we usually disagree on political matters,
    if not social ones, I totally support your view regarding the Perthshire six, (Scottish Tories). Calling themselves the Scottish Democratic Unionists, or whatever, will change nothing. They will still be bloody Tories in Scotland.

  48. Rob S
    “4) Promote planning policies which reduce the need to travel and support sustainable travel choices through mixed use development at reasonable densities close to existing infrastructure. ”

    As a CPRE man, as I think you will remember I am, I agree with you about point 4 – “no chance”.

    See the result of this YouGov poll on motorways, etc., not to mention the posts on here, which I have said previously, is one area of policy where the UKPR fraternity mirror the voters closely.

    Blair bottled it with the motorist lobby, Cameron and Clegg would not even be aware of what there was to bottle.

    Anyone know what Ed Miliband thinks about road building and reducing road traffic?

  49. @JACK
    Very dangerous for a man of your persuasion to discuss the cuts to the armed forces. The “blackhole” left by the previous administration was ( is ) some £34 BILLION. The MOD certainly take the gold medal for the biggest and best cock ups of all the various government departments.
    The Army is as precious to me as the NHS is to you, and yet I see the need to repair the damage. You will have to learn to live with it, I have.

  50. As we’ve said, these polls are moving around somewhat.
    I hope from my point of view that if the Government recovers from this as the economy recovers, and goes on to win.

    But it doesn’t always follow.
    By definition, this may not be a recovery which people appreciate for a long time, because we’re trying to rebuild it on hard graft and skills, not credit cards.
    And there are of course dangers that it could be derailed by outside events – but in my view the government’s policies are the right ones.

    Also, if Labour hoovers up lots of Lib Dem votes, the Tories don’t need to be doing badly to lose.

    That said, I think the government will probably succeed.

    It rests on the economy – not now -but some way ahead.
    Either the government will be vindicated and will do the same as or hopefully better than in 2010
    – in which case Miliband and sneary Balls will look devastatingly wrong

    or people will think they are right afterall and the Tories caused 5 years of stagnation (although my view would disagree with that even if it happened).

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