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. @CHRISLANE1945
    “Grammar Schools have been removed as ladders of Opportunity. (Most Grammars were closed under MT)”

    I attended a Grammar School which remains as such. The local schools, for good reasons, do not prepare pupils for the 11+ & hence the majority of those enrolled are either pupils at prep schools, which fall over themselves to advertise their success in winning places at the school, or those whose parents have paid for private tuition. The vast bulk of “ordinary kids” ain’t got a chance. The school has a v. large 6th form, which recruits from outside: the entry qualification for such pupils is 5 or 6 GCSEs, A*. Many of these late entrants again come from private schools.
    The notion that Grammar Schools promote social mobility MAY have been true once, but it is now a myth. If you have evidence to the contrary, then provide it. Anything would be better than unevidenced claims about the “lost ladders of opportunity”.

  2. @leftylampton
    For your own peace, try to look at it this way. If a person of 30 gets cancer at 50, the chances of complete recovery will be much higher than today. If a person of 30, shows signs of dementia at 60, it will probably have been eradicated in 30 years time. There are worse things than living in rented homes, after all most of our grand parents knew no other way.

  3. The answer obviously is a property tax. It would have to be universal, it must NOT be capped like council tax.

  4. @nick p
    That’s a great idea, tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend …………………………………………………………………..

  5. chou

    the money has already been spent and now we need to tax and get some back. 3% increase on public sector pension contributions is a tax. The bank levy is a tax.

    Your beloved army (and your army pension) are paid for out of tax.

    Your “tax and spend” jibe is foolish.

  6. @AW

    Here’s a chance for your ‘cross’ e-mail inclinations.

    h ttp://

    “People in London and Scotland are less likely than those in other parts of the country to support cuts to immigration, a survey suggests.”

    See the Beeb’s graph. Then see the tables:

    h ttp://–appx_1.pdf

    “Table notes: Numbers may not sum to 100% because of rounding. Asterisk (*) indicates small sample size. Approximate 95% confidence intervals for each reported percentage appear in brackets.”

    Both the London and Scotland samples (the jist of the Beeb’s article) have asterisks to denote small samples. The data for ‘immigration increased a lot’ [margin]:

    London 3% [0-7]
    Scotland 20% [11-29]

    And 95% confidence of that.

    …and people get bored with my crossbreak interpretations. :)

  7. @Chou

    You said “… There are worse things than living in rented homes, after all most of our grand parents knew no other way…”

    I think that’s the point: we were supposed to make the world better for our kids. If the best we can say to our children is “most of our grand parents knew no other way”, then we’ve *really* messed up. My dad left school at 15 and became a fitter earning b***** all, but he could still afford a terraced with a backyard, and we were genuinely poor. Kids today get iPods, cars, proms, flat screen tellys, Peppa Pig and High School b****y Musical but they couldn’t buy a house (or even a flat) if they sold kidneys and we haven’t got tens of thousands of pounds (oddly enough) to give them for a deposit. T’aint right, no matter how you cut it.

    Regards, Martyn

  8. LeftyLampton
    I find it difficult to see why you are so upset by the fact that your own mother made a few bob on her home. If her husband had been educated at a posh public school followed by Oxbridge, like say Harriet Harman or Tony Blair (and yes many Tories and the odd LD as well), perhaps he would have been a Barrister earning many times more in a year than your mum got from selling her home. Not many comp kids have a chance of being a barrister or a banker, so let’s not stop them making a profit from home ownership, particularly if they live there a long time.

    Far from taxing the ordinary person who wishes to invest in their own home we should encourage them. At the moment I reckon young people are actively discouraged from saving, home ownership etc. We must do more to discourage overspending and waste and encourage people to take responsibility and buy their own home.

    Unfortunately 100% of the country cannot own their own home, and council homes should be available for the poorest. But the worst thing we can do is feel envious of or punish those from very modest backgrounds who have tried to put away some cash rather than spend every last penny.

  9. I’m not sure about new property taxes, but getting the very rich to actually pay the ones we already have would be a start.

  10. I get the impression that some people are happy to tell others they must sacrifice for the terrible economic mess in the country but are not willing to do so themselves.

  11. (First ever post)

    Labour are viewed as best placed to create jobs etc and Con-LD more likely to reduce the deficit – has the question been asked what people prioritise? Also, if poeple do believe that Cons are best to reduce the deficit and this is what is keeping their stats up can I just ask what will happen when they fail to reduce the deficit in any significant way?

    Is it possible people could move to Labour but still feel that Labour would also have failed to tackle the deficit?

  12. LIZH
    ‘I get the impression that some people are happy to tell others they must sacrifice for the terrible economic mess in the country but are not willing to do so themselves.’

    If you are referring to politicians of any political persuasion, I would agree with you; however, the ordinary person who in London will have undoubtedly paid tax (stamp duty) on their home when they bought it is the sort of person who has already made terrible sacrifies because of the mess, whether caused by greedy bankers or incompetent government; there comes a point when they will say enough is enough. Taxing their home might well be that point.

  13. @Henry

    You said “…Unfortunately 100% of the country cannot own their own home…”

    No, no, a thousand times no. .. :-)

    Sumerians could build houses out of mud, Wessex peasants out of wattle and daub. Slaves in the Confederacy had wooden shacks, Welsh miners had stone one-up-one-downs. Fifties kitchen-sink dramas bemoaned the lot of workers in slums in two-up-two-down terraces with a backyard. Sixties “Coronation Street” was set with two-bed terraced houses with hot water, and Eighties “Brookside” in two-bedroomed semidetacheds in a close.

    None of these were for wealthy people, or even the well-off. But all of them considered house ownership as unexceptional. Only in Britain post-Blair do we genuinely believe that houses are a luxury for the upper middle-classes that should be otherwise rationed.

    Regards, Martyn

  14. Any Socialist worth his salt will wish for a rounding down of wealth, ’twas ever thus. However, rather than preach to us Tories about it, how about if they put their money where their mouths are and start flogging off their assets to share with the less fortunate, I don’t see any evidence of the left turning out in their millions to share their wealth, properly, perhaps sharing their houses with others, doing without for the sake of others, I don’t mean a couple of quid in a box and a day’s march. I mean a serious effort to represent their beliefs in real, tangible terms.
    Perhaps if Socialists led by example, rather than hot air, we Tories might be inclined to take their message seriously, until then, we’re all in it together. :-)

  15. @Henry
    I have yet to hear any politician saying that the MPs should contribute more and take less pension or richer pensioners that their own pensions should be trimmed. Both these groups are advocating that the rest of society should take the pain.

  16. Martyn
    ‘You said “…Unfortunately 100% of the country cannot own their own home…”
    No, no, a thousand times no. .. ‘

    Be fair now Martyn; I am not suggesting that only the well off, wealthy etc. own their own home, but am saying that most of us should and would with a little encouragement.

    To reach where I want to get will take alot of endeavour; then perhaps we can consider your 100% option.

    Close to us in the midlands there are decent one bed flats, suit a couple first buy for £45K; £5k down and £20K each mortgage does not seem impossible. Not a mansion but the first step of the ladder.

  17. @Ken

    Unlike Torys like yourself, who pine for inadequate Victorianesque charity as the model, I’d think most socialists would rather have a government that enacted a nationwide policy to do just that – so their wealth-giving was part of a wider, all-encompassing drive rather than a one-off, drop-in-the-ocean give-away?

  18. LIZH
    ‘I have yet to hear any politician saying that the MPs should contribute more and take less pension…’

    So far we are as one; those dishing out the medicine are not taking it themselves.

    …richer pensioners that their own pensions should be trimmed. Few pensioners are in a position to dictate government policy; however I am yet to meet any person, pensioner, private sector worker, or public sector worker who has actively pushed for a reduction in their current or future pension.

    Actually, locally our Council has severely cut the budget for care for the elderly and things a few years back which were taken for granted are no longer provided.

    If you are advocating a cut in what current pensioners receive, you must be furious that the Coalition has bowed to the Unions (and LD lobby) and safeguarded the penions of public service workers close to retirement.

    Both these groups are advocating that the rest of society should take the pain.

  19. @Henry
    “If you are advocating a cut in what current pensioners receive, you must be furious that the Coalition has bowed to the Unions (and LD lobby) and safeguarded the penions of public service workers close to retirement.”

    You are being mischievous here. You know I said rich pensioners. The recent VIs show that it is the over 60’s group who support the reduction of pensions for future public sector retirees but I don’t hear this group saying trim our pensions slightly and put it towards the deficit.

  20. It is surely a coincidence that the current target of the reds, including LeftyLampton’s mum, is the one age group that prefers the Tories to Labour.

    Just in case it is not a coincidence, and that against all the odds Labour win in 2015, my advice to the over 60s is to tell any pollster that they intend to vote Labour, and then when the GE comes vote for the Party that will look after their interests best (LD of course)

  21. My recent Perm Sec retired with a civil service pension of £80,000 (plus a lump sum of three times that) and walked into an £80,000 3 day a week job as a civil service commissioner. The tax payer pays for both, he gets both and apparently despite its name the new job doesn’t count as civil service so he can draw the pension and the wage immediately.

    Now a £50,000 or so cap on tax-payer funded annual pensions sounds good to me. You could also remove tax breaks from private pensions over that amount.

    I have no idea what that would save, but trimming pensions that would only be worth £10,000 or so while some people take enormous amounts seems unfair to me. After all they can probably afford to fund some extra provision themselves if they are earning £100,000 plus, unlike the oft mentioned dinner ladies and, say, me.

  22. LizH
    ‘You are being mischievous here…’

    Quite right Liz…I knew what you meant.

  23. NickP
    ‘Now a £50,000 or so cap on tax-payer funded annual pensions sounds good to me. You could also remove tax breaks from private pensions over that amount.’

    Seems fair to me. Better than taking my home anyway.

  24. CRAIG……….Dream on, and prepare for permanent disappointment, as a famous Socialist once remarked, ‘the poor are always with us’.

  25. henry

    There really does need to be some sort of property tax, I think.

    Now you could exempt houses worth less than, say, half a mill (or even a million) or you could try to exempt first homes (although that would lead to widespread cheating, flipping and misregistering). There’s lots of options.

    But if you are sitting on loads of valuable property why not pay tax on it? That includes the Queen, the Duchy of Cornwall, Earl of Buckinghamshire and of course all landlords including by-to-let.

    If a little old widow is sitting in a £2m pound mansion and claims to have no income then yes I’m afraid she will have to sell up to pay the tax and move somewhere smaller (or get the heirs to pay it).

  26. How about a tax on properties over £1M and on 2nd homes as a compromise? Normal middle class people shouldnt pay property tax

  27. Chou.

    You’re correct of course that anecdotal individual examples are lazy. So unless you tell us what your son earns and how he financed his deposit etc, your counter-example is as pointless as mine.

    So, let’s look at ONS data for the country as a whole.

    Not bad if you bought a house in 1975 and retired in the last few years, eh?

    THAT graph shows what I mean about the obscene transfer of wealth to older property owners from the young. The comfortable life that rising house prices have brought to the older middle class has been funded by younger people paying inflated prices for houses, or being stuck in a life of permanent rent.

    And this is a non-party political point. Thatcher started the problem by de-regulation. Labour exacerbated it by pandering to the propertied, middle aged middle class. Both are culpable. And the result is a national disgrace.

  28. Of course, there’s a dead simple answer to the house price problem.

    Introduce retrospective CGT on first homes. That removes unearned wealth from the pockets of those who have benefited from the boom. Use it to subsidise a massive house building programme, to balance supply and demand.

    Can’t see any possible moral argument against that.

    And Ken: I’ve benefited from the boom. And I’d vote for that policy tomorrow. Would you?

  29. NickP
    I am not against taxing 2nd, 3rd homes etc. However I think they are already quite well taxed in terms of capital gains tax.

    If you were to say homes over £2 million on a progressive scale, I would have to go along with it, besides it is LD policy (although not my favourite).

  30. LeftyLampton
    ‘Introduce retrospective CGT on first homes. That removes unearned wealth from the pockets of those who have benefited from the boom. Use it to subsidise a massive house building programme, to balance supply and demand.’

    You are onto a winner there. Get EM to raise it a PMQs and then stick it in your manifesto

  31. Go on then Henry. Tell me what your moral objection to that policy is.

  32. @ Henry
    “However, LD MPs, both the ones I like and the ones I don’t, are idealists, and have chosen to ‘take on the world’ to pursue what they believe.”

    Henry, my MP is a Lib-Dem, who seems is a decent, honourable, v. hard-working person from an ordinary background. However, only his most zealous supporters would claim that there was much connection bewteen the poilicies he now supports & those he advocated in his pre-election leaflets, which presented him as a radical, left-of-centre alternative to Labour. Why then didnt he resign & fight on the new ticket? Because he would have lost: it appears that his “idealism” is outweighed by his desire to remain i power, the driving force, as I said in my previous platitudinous post, behind all politicians.
    I don’t know where you buy your specs, but next time ask for the non-rose-tinted ones.

  33. An interesting question, I think, is what share of the vote would Labour need to win a majority on the boundaries if the Tory share stays exactly the same on 37%.

    We don’t know for certain but the best guess at the moment is they’d need at least a 3% lead so that would be 40%. Given they were on 29.7% at the last election, that’s an increase of more than 10%. That seems like a tall order to me, so if the Tories want to stop a Labour majority they best way for them to think about it would be to at least hold their 37% share from last time (or of course increase it a bit).

  34. Correction: meant to write “on the new boundaries”.

  35. It would be quite an achievement to stop Labour getting 40% vote share whenever the next election is.

  36. LeftyLampton
    ‘Go on then Henry. Tell me what your moral objection to that policy is.’

    I have no objection to Labour putting it in their manifesto; if implemented it would probably end any desire for home ownership by individuals, which I think is a bad thing; but then some people think property is theft. I do not know if you intend to have a tapering CGT to reflect inflation, also if one’s property loses money one will be compensated; for instance property was booming in NI a few years back and I think it has lost almost half its value since its peak. If one bought at the top price would the loss be covered by Govt? I am sure you appreciate that very few houses would be sold and therefore there would be very little cash to build new properties.

    So the solution is to tell the voter how you would address the housing problem; I am confident that Labour Party support would drop like a stone, and perhaps LD would be the main beneficiary. If reform of donations does not do for Labour than this most certainly would.

  37. Very interesting that the public blame slow growth on the previous Lab govt (31%) and then Tory (28%).

    When a similar question was asked about who was to blame for the cuts last year (admittedly a slightly different question). People blamed last Lab govt by 41% and Tory 25%.

    So interesting that although the Tory cuts are perceived as too far & too fast they blame the fact of the cuts on Lab, but for slow growth they are more evenly balanced (and Eurozone in blamed even more).

    This goes some way to explain why the dire economic performance and failure of Tory Plan A is not leading through to higher Labour leads in VI.

    People still blame slow growth and cuts on Labour (just marginally more than the Tories), but they more blame the Eurozone crisis so they’ve got plenty of scapegoats to go round.

  38. Well sidestepped Henry. You should be a politician.

    Of course no party is going to put that in their policies.


    What I really intended to ask you was:

    1) Do you think it morally justifiable that a near 20-year long housing bubble has lined the pockets of older middle class folk (me included) and put decent home ownership out of the reach of millions of younger people?

    2) Do you think the idea of some form of redistribution of that colossal unearned wealth is inherently morally objectionable?

    3) If yes to either of the above, why?

  39. @MARTYN
    I did not say that the current very bleak outlook is right Martyn. And, yes I would like a bit of bright news about the future of Britain, Europe and the World. However, various factors have contributed to a cock up on an international scale that beggars belief. One can hardly begin to say WHY, without being moderated. Typically, my reaction is for people, politicians, nations, particularly this one, to stop spending money they have not got. It is a very common and easy to understand situation, when excessive spending does not just hit the reckless, but the children and grandchildren of the reckless. For people of the left to now rend their garments and gnash their teeth at the terrible injustice, is a bit rich. A little more financial management like Chancellor Browns first couple of years would have helped no end.

  40. LEFTYLAMPTON……………..We too have benefited from the boom, if we move. To release the equity we would have to move to a smaller property in a different place. That is not our intention, we like where we live and have lived there for 27yrs., We also have another property, which is not rented out , but is used for 4 or 5 months a year. So, should we sell, we will attract CGT on the second property.
    I cannot for the life of me understand, having paid high taxes for years,( in fact the last corporate tax bill for the year ending prior to my selling the company, reached 7 figures ) why I should pay, yet again, to give the government money to distribute in any manner it sees fit.
    I don’t believe that human nature wholly suits Socialist principles, we are naturally protective of our own and what we work for, fairness eventually ( since it is unknown in nature, and therefore an artificial concept ) will have to give way to pragmatism, it then becomes a personal judgement call, I choose the level of fairness that suits me, you choose what suits you……….you can’t impose fairness, but of course, naturally, because it’s unfair, you will try. :-)

  41. If anyone is interested there is an interesting set of observations from John Philpott of the CIPD, about the UK’s economic situation here:

    Make of it what you will.

  42. Mike N. Interesting.

    “For all the talk about the UK being a safe haven in a difficult global economy, the OBR reckons that by 2013 we will have the worst fiscal deficit and debt situation in the world, a marked deterioration on the situation the government inherited last year. This is because flat-lining economic growth has more than wiped out the effect of cuts in public spending and tax hikes. Rather than being secure, the UK’s triple-A credit rating is now under serious threat of a downgrade, perhaps as soon as the end of this year. ”

    But it is really just re-iteration of one side of the argument.

  43. @Henry

    Gottit, thank you.


    Gottit, thank you.

    Regards, Martyn

  44. Here is a laugh.

    I Chouenlai, son of Roland Haines, recommend Martyn Kettle in the Guardian today. He specifically mentions this thread and the YOU GOV poll that it is about. Kettle also mentions the Peter Kellner piece I was so impressed with the other day. Rather like my agreeing with Rob Sheffield about Miliband, it shows that when people look the facts in the face, rather than tribal loyalty, its amazing who one can agree with.

  45. @Chou

    “son of” Roland Haines? (cough, cough… :-) )

    Although I am pleased to note that somebody else spells the word “Martyn” correctly… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  46. The ratings agencies are quiet at the moment, because, like turkeys being asked to vote for Christmas, they see themselves potentially being consumed, if they make the wrong call. History shows us that the agencies act first in their own interest, hence the positive valuations of toxic securities, in my view therefore, they will hang fire on a UK downgrade, fearful of causing a run which would also consume them. I suspect that a few nudges have been applied by various institutional heavyweights to help them with their deliberations.
    The UK is a keystone in the world economic model and punches well above its weight…………to trigger a run would have a significance far greater than the regional effect of European downgrades, such as Italy or even France.
    Germany and the US are another story.

  47. @nick p
    Compared with most of Europe, the UK is a safe haven.
    This says much about the state of Europe. No one, least of all the Tories in this government are under any illusions about our situation if the EZ disintegrates.
    Of course it would be to much to ask you to look at some home truths about the situation in Europe and the west in general and WHY.But the continued squawking for GROWTH, where no growth exists, because nobody has money to spare, is so much easier. People like you have cried out for spending on everything under the sun baring defence for years. Irrespective of whether it was affordable or not, now the chickens are home to roost and you have learned nothing from this whatever.

  48. ROBERT C

    @” Ed Balls is still at stage one.”

    He is-and there are reports that his party is beginning to think so too.

    The Dan Hodges blog :-

    “”“The shadow cabinet is now basically split into two camps: those who believe all we need is one more heave on the economy, and those who think we have to fundamentally change our position,” said an insider. The number of senior Labour MPs who fall into the second camp is now growing steadily. “It’s noticeable over the past month how many senior back benchers are saying we can’t go on like this,” said one source.”

    and so called “In the black Labour”, :-

    “Taxpayers, voters and lenders to the British state feel they have a right to know what the main opposition party would do about high levels of borrowings and when they would do it by. Satisfying this demand is fundamental to being regarded as a credible alternative government. But this is not simply a matter of electoral calculation: certainty and stability are genuinely prized economic possessions which HM Opposition should uphold as much as the Government”

    I might also add Rob Sheffield on UKPR :-)

    British Business too seems pretty solidly signed up to GO’s plan

    But of most interest & significance to me is the IFS Director, Paul Johnson , who recently said:

    “With the worse economic outlook, their slower fiscal squeeze [as set out in the March 2010 Budget] – with smaller tax rises and less deep spending cuts – would, if it had been implemented, now of course have implied even higher debt levels over this parliament than those we will in fact see. That would have left an even bigger job to do in the next parliament”

    THe significance of those words is not just the implicit criticism of the Balls approach, but the focus on Debt & the next Parliament.

    It will be obvious to anyone who has read the OBR November statement , that the focus will soon be-and certainly for the next Parliament -the cumulative effect of UK’s persistent deficits -the Total Government Debt .
    And with it, of course, Gilt yields & the cost of servicing it, the effect on public services spending, and policy connected with returning it to 30% to 40% of GDP .

    This is the post Deficit / Debt ridden world which IFS is already beginning to focus on.

    GO still has to get us there before he can address the issue of Debt, and of course an EZ collapse would produce new , frightening, perhaps overwhelming problems for UK.

    But EB is nowhere on any of these issues.
    Sitting at PMQs and waving his hands in that “flatlining” salute is no substitute for a policy which addresses the enormous fiscal & economic problems facing us.

    Combative, partisan, Tory hating politics is what Balls does best. But even his colleagues have woken up to the realisation that the public are probably looking for something more relevant.

  49. NickP

    @”My recent Perm Sec retired with a civil service pension of £80,000 (plus a lump sum of three times that) and walked into an £80,000 3 day a week job as a civil service commissioner. The tax payer pays for both, he gets both and apparently despite its name the new job doesn’t count as civil service so he can draw the pension and the wage immediately.”


  50. Ken

    Interesting comments on UK credit rating.

    The markets seem somewhat calmed by the talk of EZ fiscal union / constitutional committments to balanced budgets etc etc-plus ECB indicating once the moral hazard aspect has been covered , they could be more active….??

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