Both Populus and ICM have new polls out tonight – two phone pollsters who have broadly similar methods, but today show somewhat differing results.

ICM in the Guardian have topline figures, with changes from December, of CON 40%(+3), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 16%(+1), Others 9%. In this Parliament ICM have tended to show by far the highest scores for the Liberal Democrats and, as a result, some of the lowest scores for the Labour party. This is partially to do with their reallocation of don’t knows (ICM, and to a lesser extent Populus, assume that half of those people who say don’t know will end up voting for the party they backed last time. This gives a big boost to the Lib Dems)

Meanwhile Populus in the Times has topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 13%(+1). Still to come tonight we also have YouGov’s daily poll in the Sun.

Looking at the rest of the questions in the polls, Populus also reasked a question from September on whether people thought it was difficult to imagine Ed Miliband running the country as Prime Minister – 68% of people agreed, up from 63% in September. Populus went on to ask those who said yes why they had done so – 38% said because he wasn’t up to the job, 33% because they didn’t know enough about him, 9% because Labour are unlikely to win.

On Labour’s economic policy, ICM had one of my much disliked “will X make you more or less likely to vote for party Y” questions on it. 10% said the change in policy made htem more likely to vote Labour, 13% less likely. They also asked who people trusted more on the economy, Cameron & Osborne were on 46%(+2) to Miliband & Balls on 28%(+5).

UPDATE: YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 8%, so Labour back in the lead again after the 5 point Tory lead in the Sunday Times. My impression taking into account today’s polls, YouGov’s recent numbers and the ComRes at the weekend showing the two main parties neck-and-neck is that the underlying position is probably a very small Tory lead of a point or so.

Also worth noting is the sheer contrast between different pollsters’ Lib Dem figures, with YouGov at one end with the Lib Dems at 7-10, ICM at the other extreme with the Lib Dems at 14-16, and the other regular polling companies somewhere inbetween, mostly showing them at 10-13. Some of this is down to how don’t knows are treated, but it probably also involves the minutae of weighting, when party ID or past vote data is collected and so on.

287 Responses to “New ICM, Populus & YouGov polls”

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  1. PHIL

    @”Some at least of the disparity must be down to much higher rates of home ownership in the UK than in Germany for example”


    The big disparity in the numbers quoted by Alec was in Finance Sector debt-ie the “Golden Goose” of the Brown Boom-whose golden egg crumbled so readily in 2007.

  2. Petro-plus had a problem with its revolving credit, which its banks cut off. It has been in talks with the banks but to no avail and without credit to buy oil it has no business. There is two parts to this story, one is the drop in demand for diesel across Europe(I have no idea why that should be :smile: ) and the other is banks unwillingness to lend and a desire to increase margins on the credit lines which they do hold open. I have read many stories about companies being informed by their banks that credit lines will be “renegotiated” or else!

    So petro-plus is a victim of both falling demand and the new credit crunch.

  3. FT on Petroplus :-

    “Europe’s largest independent refiner by capacity, said it would file for insolvency after talks with its lenders failed.
    The announcement came a day after its UK refinery, Coryton, one of the largest in the UK and a key source of petrol for London and the south-east, stopped fuel deliveries and trading in the company’s shares in Switzerland, which have lost 99 per cent of their value since 2007, was suspended.

    With chronic overcapacity in the industry, European refiners have been hit hard by the economic slowdown which has weakened demand for transport fuel and squeezed profit margins.

    Petroplus, which is based in Zug, Switzerland, had about $1bn in credit lines frozen last month and since then has been fighting to stave off bankruptcy.
    It was forced to close down three of its refineries, while the two remaining – Coryton, on the Thames Estuary in Essex, which supplies around a fifth of the south-east’s fuel, and, in Germany, Ingolstadt – have been running at reduced capacity.”

    Capitalism & the Market in operation.

  4. You all clutching at straws if you thing home ownership explains the difference in debt levels between Britain and germany. Money will still have been borrowed in Germany to buy property its just it will be included in corporate debt instead of household debt. The bigger question is how much is the bricks and mortar worth, are British prices inflated and if so how many will be in negative equity, how many will go bankrupt and how will this affect the lenders.

    On a related note… Most of the decrease in American debt levels is due to defaults, that is too say folk have gone bankrupt and the debts have been wiped out rather than folk paying down their debt

  5. RiN

    “On a related note… Most of the decrease in American debt levels is due to defaults, that is too say folk have gone bankrupt and the debts have been wiped out rather than folk paying down their debt”

    Very good point.

    I hope the same feature is pointed out when the deleveraging of UK banks is quantified.

    They have written of tens of billions of pounds in bad debts.

  6. Interesting observation in the FT on UK public Finances:-

    George Buckley, economist at Deutsche Bank, noted that when non-discretionary spending in the form of social benefits and interest payments are stripped out from government spending, what is thought of as “core” spending is slowing. On average this has fallen by close to 5 per cent year on year over the past four months, and is currently declining by 4.4 per cent. This compares to an average rise of close to 7 per cent during the 10 years up to the 2010-11 financial year, Mr Buckley calculates.”

  7. @ Colin & RiN

    “On a related note… Most of the decrease in American debt levels is due to defaults, that is too say folk have gone bankrupt and the debts have been wiped out rather than folk paying down their debt”

    Very good point.

    I hope the same feature is pointed out when the deleveraging of UK banks is quantified.

    They have written of tens of billions of pounds in bad debts.”

    What a terrible price to pay though. When they go through bankruptcy in the US, they lose everything and the state does not really look after them. Any benefits are time limited and barely adequate to rent a room in any grotty motel. There was a BBC news programme on this, showing people living part of the week in a motel room and the rest of the week in a refuge. These include families, many of whom receive food stamps, as otherwise they would have to go without food. In Florida alone there are over 3 million people on food stamps.

    This does put in some perspective the UK benefit cap that is being discussed. I think many US citizens would be totally shocked at what the UK government provides.


    Yes indeed

    Many of those people in US were tempted in with time limited “teaser rates”.

    The handful of individuals who successfully shorted the mortgage backed security industry, did so by deep research for each tranche of bonds on the precise timing of the end of teaser rates & introduction of higher rates.

    THey knew that these were the dates on which mass defaults would collapse the whole edifice.


    “So three of the last four polls published have Labour in the lead. Surely this useless waste of space Miliband has to fall on his sword now, doesn’t he?
    Tee-hee, chuckle, chuckle, smiley face and all that”

    Let me ask you if you think this Tory led government, deserve to be level pegging with Labour ? The state of the economy, the NHS, cutting benefits for the poorest in society. Do you not suppose that the seriously worried public, should be flocking to the Labour banner ? As it is, where the Tories are not enjoying a 5 point lead, they are closing to within a point or two from 5 points adrift this time last month. I think it is Chris NS, Colin, BT says and lil ol’e me who are tee heee chuckle chuckle.

  10. @colin
    Read George Buckley, it is much as I supposed. The thing is, Osborne is on target for his years reduction in spending. Nuff said.

  11. @Chouenlai

    But wasn’t the target to reduce the deficit, not just reduce spending. Reducing spending was presented as a means to that end, not an end in it’s self. Has GO met the pre-election targets of ‘reducing the deficit’ while ‘safeguarding the poor and disadvantaged’?

    It makes me think of a guard who declares he has achieved success in locking doors, and merely regrets the broken window and the loss of jewellery.

  12. @Chou

    Good to see you back. I thought the three polls showing Labour leads might have led you to take flight to the bunker for a while or, in extremis, seek another pseudonym and reincarnation.


    “George Buckley, economist at Deutsche Bank, noted that when non-discretionary spending in the form of social benefits and interest payments are stripped out from government spending, what is thought of as “core” spending is slowing.”

    But aren’t you missing the key point here? The very fact that the cost of providing social benefits is ballooning is because the Government is having to pay for the soaring unemployment that is resulting from their drastic deficit reduction. Unemployment results in higher social security payments and lost tax receipts and the downward spiral goes on as those 2.7 million people and their families have drastically reduced purchasing power. Demand is sucked out of the economy and further unemployment results, greater social security payments accrue and the deficit widens. A vicious circle, in other words.

    It’s a bit like being the captain of a sinking ship and boasting that you’re baling out 100 gallons of water a minute whilst 120 gallons are flooding in. End result the same; ship capsizes with all hands going down.

    George Osborne is the Captain Pugwash of macro-economics! lol

  13. The Angus Reid poll is back in October 2010 territory.

    Labour has slumped from 40+%, Con has climbed back from the 33% that was usual throughout 2011 – But LD still has a way to go to recover to the 15-16% they were polling with Angus Reid in October 2010.

    Tories seem less accident prone, the reality check when Cameron beefed up his No 10 operation last spring is paying dividends, also his backbenchers have forced him to placate the Ukip wing.

    Labour support is back were it was shortly after Milband became leader… after a quiet start, Labour voters seem less likely to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he cannot persuade them, he will have a problem attracting the ‘certain to vote’ swing voters, some of whom but make an evalution broadly around percieved leadership qualities rather than complex policy issues.

    LD still trapped by their unpopularity among the electorate; within a coalition where they have already reaped the reward (AV referendum) and are increasingly considered to be irrelevant.

  14. according to the Telegraph “The general view among Labour’s top brass is that the party should be enjoying a lead of between 10 and 20 points given the Coalition’s austerity measures”.

    That seems optimistic to say the least, I am assuming even with the current leadership. Atm I think anything over 5% Labour lead sustained would be a triumph, even with the best possible leadership.

    When it comes to the whys and wherefores, just remember how we got here and who was in power until not so long ago. Those cuts were coming in some shape or form whoever was in charge (or perhaps a visit from the IMF). Short term the cuts aren’t going to be as unpopular as some seem to imagine. Longer term, well I think there is a cumulative effect that can only be counterbalanced by growth in the economy. I really wonder if people’s patience will last quite long enough.

  15. Baxter has now updated his Electoral Calculus website with that YouGov/Channel 4 News poll of Scottish Westminster VI:

    He is currently predicting an astonishing number of SNP gains (note: to date, he only predicts on the current boundaries). In addition to the current 6 SNP seats, he predicts the following SNP gains (19 in total):

    Aberdeen North
    Aberdeen South
    Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine
    Argyll and Bute
    Ayrshire North and Arran
    Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross
    Dunbartonshire East
    Dundee West
    Edinburgh East
    Edinburgh North and Leith
    Edinburgh South
    Edinburgh West
    Fife North East
    Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey (Danny Alexander’s seat)
    Ochil and South Perthshire

    The only other seat likely to change hands, according to Baxter, is:

    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore’s seat) Con gain from LD

    So, both SLD cabinet members might fall: one to their Tory partners, one to the SNP. How symbolic!

  16. @ JAYBLANC

    Spending keeps increasing as it always has done. The debt level will continue rising, as there won’t be any surplus money or state sell offs to make any difference. The government has simply tried to reduce the deficit by making changes to department budgets. I think the deficit was heading for 13% and is now coming down to below 10%. It is predicted by some analysts to still be 5-6% in 2015 , although I think the government wanted to get it down to 3%.

    I can’t see the debt ever coming down to below £1 trillion within the foreseeable future. The government will have to hope that they can continue to finance the debt and that GDP rises, so that the debt percentage to GDP is reduced.

  17. Forgot to link to Baxter’s predictions:

    The totals would be:

    Lab 30 seats (-11)
    SNP 25 seats (+19?
    Con 2 seats (+1)
    LD 2 seats (-9)

  18. @ R Huckle

    “I think Romney has no chance of becoming president. He earns too much to understand the lifes of the average American citizen.”

    I completely disagree.

    Frankly, the odd thing about Romney is that he seems to be embarassed by the fact that he’s wealthy and tries to hide it in these ridiculous ways. He comes off as incredibly phony and insincere.

  19. @ Social Liberal

    I was reading that Romney had earned $42 million over the last 2 years, but paid less than 14% tax.

    Don’t know what the average rate of tax is for someone on average US wages, but I doubt they would be paying less than 14%.

  20. @ Neil A

    “In the UK we have a set of officials called “Surveillance Commissioners” (usually judges). The various ways that we can put people under surveillance are managed and fastidiously recorded (generally using bespoke computer databases) by the police themselves. The surveillance commissioners then carry out inspections of current and recent surveillance requests, and ensure that the force has complied with the rigid constraints of the relevant legislation.

    So far it has worked reasonably well. Having magistrates or judges involved wouldn’t necessarily restrict the work that is done, as they generally rely on what’s written down in the police application (just as the senior police officers do currently). It would just slightly delay the application process.

    In my years of policing I have seem some fairly spurious warrant applications rubber-stamped by the courts. I have also seem some pretty good surveillance applications (even some of my own, which are of course virtually perfect) rejected by senior police officers.

    Lastly, the sort of application (covert tracking device) that was referred to in your linked judgement would require the authority of the Chief Constable in a UK police force – so very high level indeed, and very accountable.”

    When you introduce those electronic records into evidence at trial, do those surveillance commissioners have to be available as witnesses at trial and subject to cross-examination?

    Also, what’s the standard that your Chief Constables and other senior officials use to determine whether to grant authorization for a search.

    I’m not criticizing your system, just noting the massive differences. It’s not all that hard for the cops to get a warrant here. I appreciate the requirement though as a way of checking government authority and keeping the police in line.

    I was explaining what you told me last night to my dad (who’s a lawyer and former police officer) about there being no warrant requirement. His response was “well that’s why have different countries.”

  21. The IMF called on governments to avoid imposing drastic spending cuts on already sickly economies. Fiscal tightening is necessary to correct the hefty debt burden left from the boom years, the IMF said, but it, “should ideally occur at a pace that supports adequate growth in output and employment”.

    Well well well

  22. @ Phil

    “I fully agree with your second post (“Here’s what’s striking…”) and some of your first, but fear that you’re missing my point.

    It was that themes that are traditionally associated with the left can be populist and highly effective, and that Gingrich’s success even amongst Republican supporters in using such themes should make Labour over here sit up and take note.

    It wasn’t a comment on the politics of the Democratic Party, its affluent political elites and corporate backers. Your post does tend to confirm why some have difficulty in regarding it as a party of the left at all, which perhaps is the point. I take your point that the Democratic Party is very compromised by all this. But for years Bernie Sanders in wealthy Vermont hasn’t had any difficulty in picking up the ball and running with it as an independent socialist senator who caucuses with the Democrats. Perhaps a bit less timidity is called for, starting with a few dog whistles of your own.”

    I got off on a tangent there about the country club Dems because I wanted to emphasize my point about socio-economic status not neccessarily effecting voting patterns.

    But anyway, class resentment is not productive either for good government or even politically. Maybe it is in the UK and in Europe. It’s not in the U.S. I thought that the attitude of the 54th employee at Google summed it up pretty well. He went to an Obama townhall on jobs in the Silicon Valley and asked the President to “please raise my taxes.” He had done quite well for himself. By wanting his taxes raised, he wanted to ensure that there was something left for the next kid who came along. People can’t make massive amounts of money without the government. Asking the wealthy to pay their fair share is not about (and never has been about) punishing success. It’s a recognition that the wealthy benefit the most from the opportunities created by government and should therefore pay the most to maintain what benefitted them. It’s also done to ensure that everyone have the same opportunities as they did. There’s also the economic fairness issues (the wealthy can afford to pay a higher percentage of their taxes). And there’s also the issue of broader economic benefit.

    Again, I’m digressing. But I guess my point is, class resentment isn’t a tool or a goal of the left (the American left). And I think that it would be a mistake to look at a party primary and decide that the voters in that primary reflect the attitudes of a majority of the public.

  23. KeithP
    “according to the Telegraph “The general view among Labour’s top brass is that the party should be enjoying a lead of between 10 and 20 points given the Coalition’s austerity measures”.”

    If they truly think that then they really shouldn’t be let out of the house alone. There is nothing whatsoever that has happened in the last 18 months that would justify such a swing.

    I suspect that it is the Telegraph, or some disgruntled Labourite a-mischief-making.

  24. @ R Huckle

    “I was reading that Romney had earned $42 million over the last 2 years, but paid less than 14% tax.

    Don’t know what the average rate of tax is for someone on average US wages, but I doubt they would be paying less than 14%.”

    Yeah, that’s because over half of his income is not earned income and is instead subject to the capital gains tax rates, which are far lower than taxes on earned income. So someone on average wages would pay more than 14%.

    Also, he can deduct a great deal more for charitable giving. The Mormon Church requires that its members pay the Mormon Church a percentage of their individual income. When Romney does this, he can deduct the amount from what he must pay in taxes.

  25. @ Robert C

    “As for the Conservatives shedding their anti-gay past, if the Liberal Democrats and New Labour hadn’t wanted change on this issue, they would never have moved in a million years. If Cameron was leader of a majority Conservative party without the Lib Dems, gay rights are the first thing that would be under threat from the right in the party. There are still plenty of right wingers in the party – they are just biding their time.

    For the moment, to reverse a well worn phrase, they have decided it is “better to be latent than blatant”.”

    I think you’re right. I think David Cameron might be sincere though in his push for marriage equality.

  26. The Baxter predictions are interesting in that although they may not come true they derve to highlight an interesting issue.

    Over at least two decades or more a series of senior Labour and Tory Minsters have came line repeatedly;

    “If the SNP want Independence all they need to do is win a Majority of Scottish seats at Westminster”

    Presumably they thought it could never happen, a bit like a majority government at Holyrood. You could also argue that the SNP thought the same and so chose to follow the referendum route instead.

    I wonder what the likes of Jack Straw who I recall saying it would say now?

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  27. Higher rate releif is not just of PPPs
    If you pay in to a company pension scheme your contributions are deducted before tax is calculated, hence the tax relief is at your marginal rate.

  28. @JAY BLANC
    Jay, I think R Huckle has said it all. However, no body in their right mind would say it has been plain sailing for GO.
    The situation in Europe has put the tin hat on the dreams of June 2010 coming to fruition. In my view the prospects of debt being around 5% in 15 are possible. Can GO sell that to the people as a success story in the light of events? Only time will tell us.


    Good to see you back. I thought the three polls showing Labour leads might have led you to take flight to the bunker for a while or, in extremis, seek another pseudonym and reincarnation.

    I have not been anywhere. Your rather silly comment, does not answer the question I asked you about Labour’s position in the polls, regarding the governments performance in office and their popularity.

    You posted the standard spiel of Labour pre U turn economic policy, therefore may I assume you don’t think the Tories are doing a good job ? So why are Labour not 10 points in the lead.

    BTW, may I suggest that like your party leader, you leave the “funnies” out of your posts. One has either got it or ain’t got it and like Ed, you ain’t.

  30. Chou.

    “The situation in Europe has put the tin hat on the dreams of June 2010 coming to fruition. In my view the prospects of debt being around 5% in 15 are possible. ”

    Nice spin Chou. You’ve missed your vocation.

    Course, it doesn’t explain why we were flat-lining from Q4 2010, well before the EZ went into a tailspin…

  31. @R HUCKLE
    Your reply to Jay Blanc’s question on the economy was very much my opinion of the situation. I don’t think I would have put things much differently, had I been on the site at the time.

  32. IMF growth predictions are looking rather gloomy to say the least:

    They’ve cut UK forecast GDP growth in 2012 from 16.% to 0.6%.

    Good news is that we’ll come surging out of recession in 2013, with 2% growth (i.e., still below the long-term trend).

    And they have been rather over-optimistic of late. In June 11, they predicted 1.5% growth for 2011. In Sept 11, they revised that down to 1.1%. Unless we’ve done significantly better than most analysts expect in Q4 2011, even this will prove to have been a bit of a rosy prediction.

    Button your pockets down lads and lasses. It’s going to be a rough couple of years…

    If we fight the next GE on the issue of “WHAT HAPPENED IN Q4 OF 2010”, I am sure George Osborne will be able to explain. The important thing politically and in terms of voting intention, is what the public perceive the Shadow Chancellor would have done in every month, quarter and year since May 010. This is a polling site and its easy to check that out. There has been a very significant level of confusion lately, about what he would do. Since he now appears to agree with Osborne. Although, the well known Macro economist, Harriet Harman does not.

    BTW, The Labour 10 point lead you refute up page as mischief, is certainly not mischief in my case. It is what I would have expected. Now, I am certainly not Anthony Wells, but I have followed politics closely for at least 40 years, and that is what I think the Labour lead should be.

  34. Chou.

    If THAT was the factor that decides elections, then in May 2010 we either had a very forgiving electorate or a very forgetful one. Given that the shadow chancellor had agreed 100% with the fiscal policies of the incumbent, right up until the moment the merde hit the ventilateur, after which he vanished from sight for 6 months.

  35. @ Alec

    I think you are mistaken. My understanding (and it seems that of my accountant) is that if you go £1 over the 40% threshold you can claim back an additional 20% relief for your entire pension contribution.
    I’ll find out from a friend who is a tax expert & get back to you but I think you &/or accountant is mistaken about this.

  36. Leftylampton
    Course, it doesn’t explain why we were flat-lining from Q4 2010, well before the EZ went into a tailspin…”

    But another explanation for that flat lining in 2011would be that there were steps taken in 2009/10 by the last gov’t, to boost the economy, eg, VAT reduction, car scrappage scheme to mention but two. These encouraged people to bring purchases forward but of course once such schemes end, then so do the purchases. The benefits of such schemes are always short term and in the long run illusory, as all that happened was that some 2010/11 purchases were made in 2009 to take advantage. It’s hardly surprising then that growth is flat.

  37. Chou.

    Why on earth SHOULD the Labour lead be 10 points? The Tories have done exactly what they said they would do. So there is no reason whatsoever why their VI should slip. The LDs have done exactly the opposite of what they said they would do. Their VI has collapsed. Labour has mostly kept quiet and picked up 75% of the erstwhile LDs.

    What we now have (SNP apart) is politics like it always used to be before the LDs started persuading all men that they could be all things. We’re back to more or less tribal blocks of 40-ish% for the two main parties and there is little sign that either block can pull significant numbers from the other.

    What do YOU think Labour should have done to pull a couple of million voters off the Tories?

  38. Robert Newark.

    But overall growth in 2010 was also reasonably strong. In 2010, we grew pretty much exactly as Darling had predicted that we would in the 09 Budget (I’m sure you’ll recall the chortles from Osbourne as he called the 1.75% growth prediction for 2010 “fantasy economics”). Darling had then predicted growth of ~3% for 2011. Granted, the EX crisis would have shaved some of that off, but who’s to say that we wouldn’t have come close to that figure?

    THAT should be Labour’s cry at the moment. We were right on how to come out of recession, and if the country had followed our plans for slightly slower cutbacks in 11, we’d be in a damn sight stronger economic position now. Why they are refusing to shout this from the rooftops is utterly beyond me. They want to stick to the belief that they were right in 09-10 with their medium term plans, but daren’t say it loudly.

  39. EX=EZ

  40. GDP numbers this far out only affect VI very slightly due to media reports etc. The effects of bad or good numbers are in the VI for the peiod being measured.

    Chou – just one disagreement if I may. If Lab were to have a chance of winning an OM in 2015 then perhaps a lead of around 10% now, certainly heading that way, would be needed.
    Recovering from 29% though last time means that a realsitic target is denying the cons an OM and narrowing the con lead to less than 5%; imo less than 3% (say 39, 36, 15) would be a good result for Lab.

    Measured against this target they are doing OK, probably should be in the lead a little and maybe without the bad press around the Ed & Ed show they would be.

    The list of wrong doings by the Tory led coalition are endless. Read your own posts, read Jay Blanc, Amber Star, Rob Sheffield, Billy Bob ect ect.
    They have cut totally unnecessarily, or to deep to fast as per your own taste. They have hurt the poorest in society, as we speak they are wrecking “our” NHS. The scandal of the cost to go to university, schools being ruined for poor children to please middle class aspirational parents, and cutting the nation defences to the bone. I am conscience of space so I wont go on.
    Oh, they have wrecked the economy, by not having some of that colossal growth that’s all over the world.

  42. @JIM JAM
    I see nothing to argue about in your post JJ. My whole point is simple, if the Tory party are making such a mess of things, as many posters insist, why then is the opposition not scoring big points, rather than struggling to stay level. Your summing up of the likely voting in 15 is totally rational IMPO.

    Robert Newark and I do not believe Labour would have achieved any of what you surmise. Neither do the majority of voters.

  44. @ Alec

    Tax Relief
    Contributions paid by you to an occupational pension scheme (i.e. final salary, career average and money purchase) deducted through your employer’s payroll and attract tax relief.

    The contribution is deducted from your gross pay before Income Tax is deducted. This gives you tax relief on your contribution ‘at source’. If you’re a basic rate tax payer, the tax relief is 20% on the whole of your contribution. If you’re a higher rate tax payer, you get 40% tax relief on your contribution. If you are an additional rate tax payer then you may get 50% tax relief on your contributions.

    Some higher rate tax payers will receive two rates of tax relief on their contributions. This happens when earnings are just above the threshold moving someone into the higher rate. For example, your higher rate threshold is £45,000 and you earn £46,000. £1,000 of your contribution attracts tax relief at 40% and the excess at 20%. Additional rate payers may get up to 50% tax relief.

    http ://

  45. Chou

    At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, the Coalition HAS taken a hit for all the mistakes you do graciously acknowledge. In May 10, the Coalition parties polled 60%. Their current VI is hovering around the mid-to-high 40s. Labour’s VI has risen by a roughly equal amount. QED.

  46. amberstar

    You are talking about PAYE. Contributions to Pension Vehicles which can nowadays wrap up all sorts of assets tax free is treated as already taxed and the Government will give you the tax back at the highest rate of marginal growth.

    There used to be a limit to the % of pay you could put in which was age related, don’t know if there still is.

    So if a taxpayer paying 40% income tax who wants to bung £50000 lump sum into his pension pot will get that 33,333 back from the Government, even if he paid 40% on only £1 of his income that year.

  47. Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

    “If the SNP want Independence all they need to do is win a Majority of Scottish seats at Westminster”

    I’ve been saying for months that the worst situation for EdM is to have the opportunity to govern England with SNP C&S and SLAB votes. If the SNP get a majority of the Scottish seats, Cons would be relieved to see you go.

    The people who now call for an all UK referendum would demand independence for r-UK.

    The SNP could be very demanding in negotiation and SLAB would be in therapy. I hope Angus Robertson is training in negotiation perhaps he could get tactical advice from a psychologist and the Mafia.

    “Latest UNS projection Hung Parliament Labour short by six”

    The Scottish result may be critical because of LibDem losses to SNP as well as SLab to SNP.

  48. @SoCalLiberal,

    The electronic records are an adminstrative tool. They are seperate to the actual evidence that the tactic generates (surveillance logs, DV video tapes etc).

    They are often requested or referred to by the defence in pre-trial preparation, but the usual solution is for them to be reviewed by the trial judge to satisfy him/her self that everything was done correctly in accordance with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. As the Surveillance Commissioners’ role is to review the applications, there is no need for them to be involved in the court process as the trial judge can review them himself if required.

    If it is found that something has been done “wrong” (like a covert tracking device has been used without proper authority) then generally speaking the evidence would be omitted from the case (not always – English law doesn’t use the “fruit from the poison tree” principle quite like the US uses it). If the trial judge is happy everything has been done “right” he will simply tell the defence this.

    As for the standards that the authorizing officers use, these are set down in the Act.

    They have to be satisfied there is sufficient evidence or intelligence to suspect the subject of the tactic of involvement in an offence,

    That the proposed tactic is necessary (ie the problem can’t be solved in a less intrusive way),

    That it is proportionate (ie the offence under investigation is serious enough that the tactic isn’t a sledehammer to crack a nut),

    That it is “Legal” (ie that the proposed tactic is permissable under English law),

    That any “collateral intrusion” (ie danger of obtaining confidential information about an innocent party accidentally) has been thought about, minimised and won’t be disseminated.

    As it happens, the specific tactic we’re talking about is very, very rarely relied in open court (in fact I’m not aware of a single case) and in the UK is generally used only for intelligence gathering. That said, if you’re original information is correct and the person using the vehicle is genuinely involved in crime, the tactic will generally be extremly effective at helping you catch them red-handed.

    The involvement of the courts is really not the panacea some people think it is. An unregulated and unaccountable police service is extremely dangerous, but the methods of regulation and accountability can vary from country to country without one being better than another. The principal advantage of our system is speed. We can obtain something called an “Urgent Oral Authority”, sometimes in a matter of minutes. An American Detective in similar circumstances might have to wait a couple of hours whilst someone went and woke up a judge.

  49. @Alec

    http ://

    How tax relief on personal pensions works:

    For each pound you contribute to your scheme, the pension provider claims tax back from the government at the basic rate of 20 per cent. In practice, this means that for every £80 you pay into your pension, you end up with £100 in your pension pot.

    If you pay tax at 40 per cent:
    If you’re on the higher tax rate of 40 per cent, you can get 40 per cent tax relief on your contributions. This relief is only available up to the amount of your income that is taxable at 40 per cent.
    Please note the part which says: “This relief is only available up to the amount of your income which is taxable at 40%”.

    So, which kind of scheme do you have that gives relief at 40% on earnings which were not taxable at 40%?

  50. amberstar

    I didn’t see that…I stand corrected. I wonder if that’s new?

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