Last night’s YouGov daily poll has some initial questions on the Autumn statement, full tabs are here. As we regularly see in the trackers on the Sunday Times polls, the public are deeply negative about the state of the economy and how they will fare over the next 12 months – that hasn’t changed. 56% of people think the government is handling the economy badly, with 34% thinking they are doing well. That said, while people think the government are doing badly, they think Labour would be worse: 37% of people think the economy would be even worse were Labour in power, with only 25% thinking that Labour would be doing a better job.

There is a similar picture if you replace the government & Labour with Osborne and Balls. People think George Osborne is doing a bad job as Chancellor by 49% to 24%, a sharp decline from when YouGov asked the same question after this year’s budget when 34% thought he was doing a good job. However, Osborne’s lead over Ed Balls on who would make the better Chancellor has grown. 30% would now pick Osborne, with Balls on 24%, compared to a lead of 25% to 23% in July.

The survey goes on to ask people’s preferred party on various aspects of economic policy and here views are a bit more nuanced. People see the Conservatives as the party best able to reduce the country’s deficit, steer the economy through the crisis and support British business. However, Labour are seen as more able to create jobs, keep prices down and encourage growth.

Asked what is most to blame for the much lower growth forecasts, the government are continuing to avoid the largest share of the blame, with only a minority blaming them for the current state of the economy. Asked to pick the two main factors for slow growth the largest group of people blame the debt crisis in the Eurozone (44%), followed by the last Labour government (32%), the banks (31%) and 28% the current government.

YouGov asked about the specific measures contained in the Autumn statement, with mostly predictable results – it goes almost without saying that large majorities approved of the cancellation of the January hike in fuel duty, a lower rate of increase in rail fares and an increase in the bank levy. Interesting ones are the public sector pay freeze (supported by 47%, opposed by 41%), increasing the state pension age to 67 by 2026 (supported by 40%, opposed by 51%) and increasing the discount on right-to-buy (supported by 34%, opposed by 50%). The decision to update benefit payments in line with the 5.2% rate of inflation split opinion down the middle – 40% of people thought it was the right thing to do, 44% think it was wrong.

Finally YouGov asked about perceptions of what parts of the country the statement helped most. I thought this would be interesting given many of the big infrastructure projects were in the North, and whether that would be picked up at all. It doesn’t seem to have been! There were large chunks of don’t knows on all the regions, and those who did answer percieved it to have helped the South the most. Of course, in floating the possibility of regional pay scales for public servants the statement could indeed help the South the most, but I expect the answers to this question actually just reflect people’s pre-existing view of the Conservatives caring more about London and the South than the rest of the country.


298 Responses to “YouGov poll on the Autumn statement”

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  1. The sheep & Lefty

    The real problem is not the tax rates but the morality of tax evasion/avoidance. Very few people see it as immoral as least not to the degree that would significantly increase tax receipts. I think the apologists for tax avoidance know that they are on dodgy ground here because they always are at pains to point out that tax avoidance is legal. I think there are two strong moral arguments that can be employed, first that members of the armed forces are prepared to sacrifice their lives in defence of their country but those who abuse the tax system show their disdain of these patriotic folk by not contributing for the necessary equipment to protect our brave soldiers. There is a good slogan in there some where. The second would be to point out that someone who evaded 10 million of tax is guilty of stealing one pound from every old age pensioner, I don’t know the figures so I’m just guessing but you get the point. Really you not going to get anywhere with increased taxes and clamping down on tax cheats legal or otherwise before you persuade the public that paying tax is a patriotic duty and that tax dodgers are on a par with child molesters, which they are!!

  2. @Alec and Richard in Norway

    Thanks both of you!
    So, I was right NickP, but only in the sense that I had been hoodwinked by a bit of Lawson spin!
    I therefore concede that if you raised the top rate it wouldn’t follow that the yield would go down.

    An interesting exchange from which I have learned something – thank you all!

  3. Thing is, Tony, it MIGHT be true. But the evidence needs to be considered impartially taking into account confounding factors like the economic cycle.

    It’s that “impartially” that causes the problem. So many of these “think tanks” are as independent as, say, Imperial Tobacco doing a report on passive smoking.

  4. The analysis of the impact of the new boundaries and the likelihood of a Labour overall majority based on the current VI are interesting. I have seen Anthony’s very useful number crunching on this site, but have not seen what national lead over the Conservatives Labour would need to win an overall majority on the new boundaries. My impression from what I have read thus far is that the disadvantages to Labour get worse and worse on the new boundaries the greater the swing to them from 2010. Is that a correct impression?

  5. It’s very hard to apply scientific method outside the realm of strict science (which isn’t to say we shouldn’t try).

    There’s no such thing as a proper control sample, and no such thing as a “double blind”, in social and ecomonic disciplines.

    It’s a point often missed by people who talk about “proof” in a non-scientific context. Most recently I heard the presenters on “The Infinite Monkey Cage” on R4 (otherwise a great programme) talk about the proposition that “capital punishment is not a deterrent” was a “fact”. No it isn’t. There may be no inverse correlation between murder rates and the death penalty, but it is impossible to seperate out all the other contributory factors and arrive at a definite conclusion from that.

    Similarly, it is impossible to “prove” conclusively the effect that higher or lower tax rates have on revenue as the other factors involved are so dynamic. We can draw some conclusions from the data, but the “facts” will always be open to debate.

    The fact that incomes increased signifantly during and after the switch from 83 to 60 to 40% tax rates doesn’t necessarily mean that the reduction in the tax rate itself wasn’t a factor in increasing the take. But it is certainly bad logic to assert that that it definitely was.

    What would be simpler to establish (but I don’t know if anyone’s ever bothered) would be the number of high earners entering and leaving the UK each year, and plotting this against tax rates (not just income tax) which along with some questioning of some of those moving would give an indication whether flight from high taxation is a reality or a myth.

  6. @NickP,

    Ha, congratulations on saying in 24 words what I took a whole essay to say! You’re clearly better at this game than I am. You’re George Osborne to my Oliver Letwin…

  7. @Richard in Norway

    The problem is that those arguing that legal tax avoidance is immoral somehow only seem to apply it to the very rich, for who the benefits of arranging their affairs within the rules to minimise their tax bill are very great.

    I earn around the median wage, and I use tax avoidance measures. I put my money into ISAs, I buy shares and pay money into my company pension. All of these reduce my tax bill. Am I being immoral for doing so? Or is it only immoral to pay below what is considered your ‘fair share’?

    If the second, you are into a realm of subjectivity. ‘Moral’ and ‘fair’ and very subjective and certainly should not be used to justify something as important as a country’s tax system.

  8. Mark M

    Thing is, there are limits to how much you can put into an ISA but there doesn’t seem to be any limits to how much can be hidden in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.

    Personally I would repeal laws like the new Tory one which allows no tax to paid on amy money that has spent any time anywhere else in the world and lean towards a “tax everything” regime.

    The frankly ludicrous frothing about welfare and disability scroungers while the tax regime allows many Tory senior advisors to pay practically nil tax while recommending caps on housing benefits and chopping in work benefits and things like maternity leave and employment rights.

  9. @ Neil A aboput Valerie
    Not really sure what part of an EWO’s job would require a social work degree and the commensurate £25-30k plus salary. ”

    I agree! Let’s not bother about professionalism, training, education. Let’s scrap all those so-expensive police colleges & & shove anyone in a police uniform after a week’s training. I can retrain as Jack Regan: I used to drive a Ford Cortina in my youth: what more training do I need.

  10. LefytLampton
    I have been looking at property in sheffield and gain an impression that there are one/two bed flats starting for about £35,000. This is certainly cheaper than property closer to me which I reckon are still affordable by first time buyers in jobs.

    While these are not large houses, and probably not the most desirable area in town, it sounds like the sort of thing we started off on 35 years ago plus, although being closer to London the price we paid even for a cheapish property was much more difficult to fund from our modest earnings (my wife starting off in teaching and earning a lot more than me).

    I would have thought that a couple (in work) could easily afford a mortagage to cover this or properties considerably more expensive.

    What sort of prices do you think property for first time buys should be?

    Also I can understand people saying, I can rent better and cheaper or I am not willing to forgo a holiday, car etc. to buy a property, but that is choice; the same choice that existed when we chose to buy.

  11. RobbieAlive
    ‘I agree! Let’s not bother about professionalism, training, education. Let’s scrap all those so-expensive police colleges & & shove anyone in a police uniform …’

    I am obviously coming in at the end of a long discussion which is always dangerous. However it is clear that you believe training and education is essential for most jobs.

    If so I agree. I believe that the level of education over the past 25 years (not just the Labour era) has been abysmal and kids leaving school ill-equipped to get a job. Children are not encouraged or rewarded for studying, a culture so different from many of those recently settled here. Not only do we need better education but also more and better colleges, many more apprenticeships and the re-introduction of valuable valid vocational qualifications. Some progress is being made but more needs to be invested (which means that further cuts would need to be made in other areas which would not be popular).

  12. NickP
    ‘Personally I would repeal laws like the new Tory one which allows no tax to paid on amy money that has spent any time anywhere else in the world and lean towards a “tax everything” regime’

    I am unaware of this new law that seems to have slipped in under the radar. Have you any further information?

  13. Tony Dean – until we get the Welsh boundaries we really don’t know.

  14. Mark M

    I use tax avoidance measures. I put my money into ISAs, I buy shares and pay money into my company pension. All of these reduce my tax bill.

    This isn’t tax avoidance. You are being rewarded with tax concessions for behaviour that the government wishes to encourage (saving, share-holding, preparing for your retirement). You would probably be doing these things anyway to some extent, the idea is to get you to do more.

    With tax avoidance the primary purpose of what you are doing is to avoid tax. For example you might be a high earner putting larger amounts than you needed into a pension scheme to avoid tax, knowing you could take it out later.

    Personally I think the avoidance/evasion dichotomy is misleading. Partly because I can never remember which is which (I also have problems knowing left from right without looking at my hands) but mainly because it implies there is a rigid division between them. In practice the boundary is fuzzy and ever-shifting, despite what tax advisers will tell. (They will then give you documents telling you the opposite).

    We would be better calling both processes ‘tax cheating’ or ‘tax fraud’ to show their equivalence with benefit cheating (another area where the boundaries are blurred). Of course with organised benefit fraud the same people are doing both.

  15. Henry

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/07/tax-city-heist-of-century

    At the moment tax law ensures that companies based here, with branches in other countries, don’t get taxed twice on the same money. They have to pay only the difference between our rate and that of the other country. If, for example, Dirty Oil plc pays 10% corporation tax on its profits in Oblivia, then shifts the money over here, it should pay a further 18% in the UK, to match our rate of 28%. But under the new proposals, companies will pay nothing at all in this country on money made by their foreign branches.

    Foreign means anywhere. If these proposals go ahead, the UK will be only the second country in the world to allow money that has passed through tax havens to remain untaxed when it gets here. The other is Switzerland. The exemption applies solely to “large and medium companies”: it is not available for smaller firms. The government says it expects “large financial services companies to make the greatest use of the exemption regime”. The main beneficiaries, in other words, will be the banks.

  16. RiN

    You might be onto something there. Maybe we should have a Patriots Act. Outlaw tax advisors (in the national interest you understand). Prevent non-UK subjects from owning media companies (if it’s good enough for America…).

  17. NickP

    Thank you for this information. I am certainly against this for UK Companies; the fact that it is large companies rather than small business only add insult to injury imo.

  18. Roger Mexico
    I thought the difference between tax avoidance and evasion was not moral, rather legal. If your tax avoidance is illegal it becomes evasion.

    Some tax avoidance schemes are encouraged by government in order to keep the money and the individual in the Country.

    Apart from the very rich, there is a vast amount of tax evasion by people doing a spot of gardening or decorating. Sometimes it is linked to benefit fraud as well.

    I know alot of people feel that this also is wrong. Personally as a tax payer I do not feel cheated by this minor evasion. If Government raised the tax allowances so lowest paid did not pay tax, something I strongly support, then most of these people would no longer be tax evaders.

  19. @Henry
    “I am certainly against this for UK Companies; the fact that it is large companies rather than small business only add insult to injury imo.”
    “I know alot of people feel that this also is wrong. Personally as a tax payer I do not feel cheated by this minor evasion. If Government raised the tax allowances so lowest paid did not pay tax, something I strongly support, then most of these people would no longer be tax evaders.”

    Henry, I am getting to like you more and more.

  20. THe main problem with UK’s tax collection is it’s tax collection service.

    HMRC is c*ap.

    THis is but the latest in a long history of abject failure & incompetence :-

    h ttp://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2011/october/goldman-sachs-settlement-puts-pressure-on-hmrcs-private-deals-with-big-business-expert-says/

  21. Henry

    I obviously didn’t make myself clear, I mentioned primary intention to distinguish between using the tax system as intended (eg buying an ISA) and using it to avoid tax, while still operating legally. This isn’t about morality but about why things are done (morality may come into how you judge it of course, but that’s a different matter).

    As I said the avoidance/evasion split isn’t always as clear-cut as you might think and constantly changing as avoidance schemes get outlawed or politicians are persuaded to allow certain activities. A lot of this also depends on case law and intention can be important in deciding legality in some cases (as it is in much other law).

  22. @NICK P
    The frankly ludicrous frothing about welfare and disability scroungers while the tax regime allows many Tory senior advisors to pay practically nil tax while recommending caps on housing benefits and chopping in work benefits and things like maternity leave and employment rights.

    That comment is technically wrong, it is very partisan and suggests that lying and cheating to get state benefit you are not entitled to, is ok. Before you take all tax evaders as Conservatives, consider a number of Mr & Mrs Blair’s friends and acquaintanceship’s. Further the activities of Mandelson’s chums and Tessa Jowell’s old man don’t stand much research either.

    It is along past the time when the likes of you can adopt any superior attitude about “Tory Sleeze”.

  23. Of course you are right Mr C, but you miss the point.

    The current lot with IDS as figurehead are making a big deal of how welfare is an evil. I was pointing out the doublethink involved.

    Of course a Labour tax dodger is just as bad as a Tory one, and they all had their gobs in the expenses troughs (some had most of their torsoes in there too).

  24. Roger Mexico
    ‘As I said the avoidance/evasion split isn’t always as clear-cut as you might think and constantly changing as avoidance schemes get outlawed or politicians are persuaded to allow certain activities. A lot of this also depends on case law and intention can be important in deciding legality in some cases (as it is in much other law).’

    I totally agree with the above. On the other comments we probably don’t agree but it merely reflects a marginal difference in our political views.

  25. NickP
    ‘The current lot with IDS as figurehead are making a big deal of how welfare is an evil. I was pointing out the doublethink involved.’

    I don’t think IDS is suggesting that welfare is evil; both Tories and Liberals in the past have contributed to improvements in welfare (in particular Beverage) and also protection of children, the poor and the vulnerable.

    I think IDS is indicating that unnecessary dependence on and poor management of welfare, just like the love of money is the root of all evil. If not properly administered benefit payments can, apart the cost to the Treasury and loss of tax revenue, actually prevent the young from fulfilling their potential. I think IDS is sincere; there may be others who have a less humantarian view, but then they would be unlikely to support IDS as his solutions will in the short term cost money.

  26. @nick p
    Tories DO NOT think Welfare is evil. Tories think Welfare is evil if it is a way of life. The magnificent benefit we as a nation, have accrued since 1945 ( and particularly since 1997) is, extended “families” in certain parts of Britain, where “work” is as much outside of the loop of their daily life, as studying astro physics. How can you think that continuing along the same discredited route, year in, year out, is some kind of compassionate socialism ? The public at large are very supportive of changing this misguided left wing approach.

  27. Chouenlai,
    A long time ago I seem to remember, when there were Council scandals (was it Poulson) and of course dear old profumo, people used to say Labour and ‘money’, and Tories and ‘sex’ were the scandals. By people I mean friends of my parents and certain newspapers.

    Now the difference between scandals is totally blurred between Parties, and they all appear to be guilty of the same things. As you say I think we should not assume that one Party is immoral and another is not. Even our LD MPs the nearest thing to ‘innocent’ outside heaven have been known to liaise too closely with the odd Russian or miscalculate their expenses.

  28. LizH
    ‘Henry, I am getting to like you more and more.’

    Thanks Liz; the feeling’s mutual. I hope I don’t too quickly blot my copybook. I usually do.

  29. @ Rob Sheffield

    Thanks for the reply. It’s now evening here in Cyprus and I have time to respond.

    Having reread your long post I now realise that you were actually refuting the suggestion that those polling stats if applied nationally to the proposed boundary changes would give Labour an overall majority of 34. So my “equally long post” with actual named constituencies therefore concurs with and reinforces that view.

    “An election after late 2013 will be on amended versions of the 650 member HoC not the proposals as they currently are….so your projection is inaccurate ALSO !”

    Is that not a little unfair as a criticism?

    With regards to the accuracy of my projections on the proposed new boundaries, then clearly if the proposed boundary changes are amended, then some results may be affected. Equally clearly if the suggested polls are not applied evenly on a national basis, then results may change. But on the proposed boundaries using the national poll percentages as given, then my projections are (I believe) completely correct. If you wish to point to where in any of the named constituencies I am in error, please let me know. Similarly if I have missed any constituencies please let me know.

  30. @Robbialive,

    Hmm, I think your comment at 11.33am pretty much describes the introduction of PCSOs by, ahem, Labour.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of what EWOs actually do, but it really isn’t a degree level job. Common sense, literacy and powers of persuasion are the principal aptitudes required. I know some people assume that noone is allowed to have these qualities without spending £30,000 at university first but I happen not to agree.

  31. Neil A
    ‘I’m not sure if you’re aware of what EWOs actually do, but it really isn’t a degree level job. Common sense, literacy and powers of persuasion are the principal aptitudes required. I know some people assume that noone is allowed to have these qualities without spending £30,000 at university first but I happen not to agree.’

    You’re absolutely right about this and almost all occupations. Hopefully with the re-introduction of Technical Colleges, the growth of apprentices and provision of other vocational training as proposed by the Coalition will demonstrate that University is not the answer to all our unemployment problems. In fact perhaps there will come a time when nurses, librarians, accountants, lawyers and many others will no longer be expected to gain a degree, just like it used to be (or shouldn’t I say that?).

  32. @ Robbialive

    “Point taken sport! I award you a yellow blob & I am utterly shamed by yr response & by the fantastic industry behind your great post on seat projections. I am now going away to study it.”

    Cheers – glad it was a yellow blob! After a brilliantly sunny day, clear blue sky here in Cyprus, your reply made my :-) just that little wider.

    With regards to Manchester Withington – yep, even on the proposed boundary changes using GE 2010 votes that goes Lab with a 1823 maj over LD. So on the Lab 39, Con 36, LD 10 figures it would still be Lab. Hence it was not listed on my list of constituency gains/losses. It would be a Lab hold and one of the 173 seats in England that the proposed boundaries would give Lab (using GE2010 figures).

  33. The internal Lib Dem debate continues- both for and against (exactly as predicted). They might end up agreeing a solution to this or they might fracture- either in a small way or a big way.

    But it will take months maybe even years !

    *****
    Liberal Democrats: ‘Danny Alexander a fool on cuts’

    Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was “foolish” for appearing to commit the party to the Coalition’s austerity plans, a fellow Liberal Democrat said yesterday.

    By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor, Daily Telegraph

    Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was “foolish” for appearing to commit the party to the Coalition’s austerity plans, a fellow Liberal Democrat said yesterday. Mr Alexander was criticised as Lib Dem MPs protested about plans to extend cuts in Government spending until 2017, after the next general election.

    Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is expected to be challenged by his MPs at a private meeting next week.This week’s Autumn Statement set out plans for almost £30?billion of cuts in 2015-17 to balance the Government’s books. Some Lib Dems are unhappy that Mr Clegg and Mr Alexander have suggested that the party is already committed to fighting the next election under promises to implement those cuts.

    Mr Alexander was this week asked if the Lib Dems would fight the next

    He replied: “I am afraid so.”

    His remarks have angered some Lib Dem MPs, who insist that under the party’s rules, such election manifesto promises can be agreed only by the wider party. Stephen Williams, the chairman of the Lib Dem backbench Treasury committee, said Mr Alexander was wrong to say that the policy was already fixed.

    “As a Cabinet minister, Danny is bound by collective responsibility and he has to adhere to the Government’s policy,” he said. “But what the party itself eventually decides to say about this at the election, he cannot know and I cannot know. And anyone who pretends to know is quite foolish.”

    Mr Williams said he would personally back the extra cuts to clear the deficit, saying the party had to “stay the course”.

    But he admitted that many Lib Dems find the extension of the austerity programme “worrying”.

    Mr Alexander wrote the party’s manifesto for the 2010 election.

    A senior Lib Dem figure said his comments this week could prevent him doing to same job at the next election.

    “People might wonder how open-minded about the manifesto he is after this,” the source said. Party members believe Mr Alexander was trying to “bounce them into” accepting the austerity plans. Some Lib Dems fear that fighting the next election with the same spending plans as the Conservatives will prevent them distancing themselves from their Coalition partners.

    “When I signed up for the Coalition, I signed up for five years and no more,” said one MP. “I don’t mind governing with the Tories but I certainly don’t want to campaign with them.”

    Tom Brake, another senior Lib Dem backbencher, said Mr Alexander was right about the next election. He said: “He had authority to commit the party to that because the number one priority for the party is to sort out the economic mess.”

  34. @HENRY
    Yet another failed bit of social engineering mate. Every Tom, Gladys and Harry, has to have a degree. The majority will get nothing jobs. Those who don’t have a degree, probably struggle to read and write. Their only hope is the X Factor or professional football. The armed forces can be a good option for the right type, but the right type is more and more difficult to find. All in all its not a very good situation. The youth unemployment figures we hear about, don’t tell us how many are unemployable.

  35. “When “Anglo-Saxons” said that a single central bank and currency without a single state would be inherently unstable, “they had a point”, he admits. ”

    Daily Telegraph
    Interview with Jaques Delors

    Sacre bleu !

    C’est un peu tard

    Pourquoi n’avez vous pas dit?

    Merde!!!

  36. @ Neil A
    Hmm, I think your comment at 11.33am pretty much describes the introduction of PCSOs by, ahem, Labour.
    I’m not sure if you’re aware of what EWOs do, but it really isn’t a degree level job. Common sense, literacy and powers of persuasion are the principal aptitudes required.”

    1. I agree you can’t get policing on the cheap, anymore than any of the other public services which are being cut to the bone at the moment.
    2. I know — roughly — what EWOs do: I still think a social work job needs some social work training.
    3. When I retire I shall become a PCSO. I can say “evening all” & “hello, hello” etc in a deep voice & I shall practise what W. Lewis called, in his novel The Apes of God, “The Flexion of the Meltonian Trouser-Fork”. I can supply a translation if you are unfamiliar with this antique phrase.

  37. Rob Sheffield

    ‘By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor, Daily Telegraph’

    Not the Daily T slating we LDs? Now you really have me worried!

    ‘But he admitted that many Lib Dems find the extension of the austerity programme “worrying”.’

    I think all LDs find the extension of the austerity programme ‘worrying’, necessary but worrying.

    ‘A senior Lib Dem figure said …’

    Newspaperspeak for ‘we could not find one LD to say this, so we will make it up.

    We have enough internal issues. Who invited the Telegraph to join in?

  38. @ Tony Dean

    “The analysis of the impact of the new boundaries and the likelihood of a Labour overall majority based on the current VI are interesting. I have seen Anthony’s very useful number crunching on this site, but have not seen what national lead over the Conservatives Labour would need to win an overall majority on the new boundaries.”

    I have looked at possible boundary changes for Wales, the actual ones still being awaited of course. My projection would be of the order of Con 5 (-3), Lab 19 (-7), LD 3(nc), PC 3(nc) if the GE2010 figures are applied. Thus with poll figures of Lab 39, Con 36, LD 10 (Lab lead over Con of 3) I was happy to give Lab 5 gains to bring them to 24 for Wales and 294 for the UK. Thus with such a 3% lead nationally applied Lab would need to gain a further 7 for an overall majority on the proposed new boundaries. So a 3% lead does not quite do it.

    Looking at where an extra 7 seats could come from in England then the region break down as follows:
    NE – No extra seats to gain
    NW – Crewe 5.8 lead
    York – Calder Valley 5.4 lead
    East Mid – High Peak 3.8 lead
    West Mid- Dudley W 4.0 lead
    Warwick 4.7 lead
    Eastern – Cambridge fascinating 3 way and I should have given it as a Lab gain anyway on a 3.0 lead
    Gt Yarmouth 4.3 lead
    SE – Reading W 5.6 lead
    SW – Kingswood 4.5 lead
    London – Clapham 3.6 lead
    Croydon Cen 3.7 lead
    Croydon E 3.4 lead
    Finchley 4.5 lead

    So a 4% lead gives 6 more seats and 4.3% an overall majority on the proviso that Scotland provides 37 and Wales 24 Lab seats. Any additional/fewer seats for Lab from Scotland/Wales changes that figure. All done of course using the overall poll % as applicable throughout the UK, something I do not think will be the case.

    The usual YouGov polling Lab lead of 5% if applied nationally gives an Overall Majority of about 7 on the proposed new boundaries.

  39. Henry

    “Newspaperspeak for ‘we could not find one LD to say this, so we will make it up.”

    That is an incredibly naive statement to make!!

    Especially given deputy leader Hughes (er, a rather senior role!) is one of several senior Lib Dems *already* on record as stating categorically that the collation is an agreement ending in the period leading up to the next GE.

    There is a meeting of the PLDP next week…but this will be an open sore for a longer period than that…

  40. Suns political editor- normally a paper with its hands on the Tory puilse- writes

    “There are fears in Downing Street that the dramatic growth collapse — and the extra squeeze it has placed on the nation — will put an impossible strain on the Coalition, which could even lead to its break up.”

    Not used to Sun journalism being more realistic about the government than the Guardian !!

    I refer to the nonsense written by the refusnik ‘I was right to change the papers support’ Martin Kettle the other day.

  41. I’m a bit late to the tax avoidance discussion, but this link is interesting

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/sep/20/hmrc-crackdown-tax-avoiding-footballers

    Although the headline is about footballers the article makes it clear that all high earners are being targetted by HMRC, and indeed individuals worth more than £2.5m, so some politicians of all parties will be targetted.

  42. http://www.policy-network.net/publications/4101/-In-the-black-Labour

    Labour are going to have to bite the bullet on this IMHO.

    As Keynes said: “when the facts change I change my mind Sir: what do you do”?

  43. @ Anthony Wells and FrankG

    Thank you Anthony – we wait with baited breath for the Welsh proposals in January then!

    Thank you FrankG very much indeed – the Welsh unknown apart it looks as if on the proposed boundaries it is going to be about a 4.5 percent lead we are looking for for a majority Labour government. Anything less and, even with heavy losses for the LDs, they and the Others come back into play then if the Tories don’t win outright? Conversly, I wonder what national lead the Tories need over Labour for an absolute majority? This would give us the “band width” for yet another coalition of some sort after 2015 on the new boundaries!
    Also interesting, comparing history with the future, Blair’s lead of 36/33 in 2005 would not have been enough to win a majority on the new boundaries!!!

  44. I wonder whether the move to fiscal union by Germany/France/Belgium/Holland might lead to weaker economies slowing withdrawing.

    Might be a few votes in Greece and Italy, maybe Spain? So in the short term Germany will impose austerity but in the medium term some countries will withdraw from the currency.

    In the long term that might be quite destabilising because of the strength of those southern economies. And where will that leave the UK?

    Would an independent Scotland want to join the euro?

    Would the rest of us?

    I can foresee problems between Cameron and his anti-Europe backbenchers. I wonder if Labour will want to be part of the Euro and grasp fiscal discipline by default.

    Would the voters accept ECB discipline?

  45. @ Neil A
    I’m not sure if you’re aware of what EWOs actually do, but it really isn’t a degree level job. Common sense, literacy and powers of persuasion are the principal aptitudes required. I know some people assume that noone is allowed to have these qualities without spending £30,000 at university first but I happen not to agree.
    —————————————-
    Ah, but would they be paid the same, without the degree? I think that your entire argument is founded on the premise that this should not be a well-paid, professional job but rather a lower paid position which puts little monetary value on the skill of literacy & the qualities of common sense & leadership (i.e. having the powers of persuasion).
    8-)

  46. Rob Sheffield
    That is an incredibly naive statement to make!!

    I should learn to believe the Daily T.
    I am a little worried about my friend Simon H; he never used to hide under the ‘senior lib dem figure’ label

    Call me ‘naive’ Rob (come to think of it you just did) but I have no intention of sitting around listening to tittle tattle from a newspaper whose main aim appears to be to undermine the LDs, the Coalition and DC for that matter.

  47. @Amber,

    Starting salary for an EWO is less than £15k. If a graduate wants to go for that, good luck to them. Or they could become a team leader at KFC and get a proper salary.

    I think people are getting confused about what an EWO is as opposed to a social worker. EWOs monitor school attendance and try to assist families of truants etc. A perfectly good job to do (and I think they’re underpaid for it) but it’s not comparable to a social worker carrying a workload in an Advice and Assessment unit.

  48. @Neil

    When I qualified in 1985 and joined the profession as a childcare social worker, my EWO colleagues were indeed social work trained. I know there has been ‘dumbing down’ but I was bit taken aback by the idea that you might toddle off and become one when you retire.

    Now I’m retired, with 25 years experience of working with children and families, maybe I could become a police inspector and sit in on child protection case conferences. It always seemed to us front line staff to be an administrative role. But what did we know?

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